In an earlier post in April, I published a thought provoking discussion with architects Milton Lloyd and Matthew Cumming, the founding partners of Sydney based Mijollo International Architects.

One of the main themes of that post was how design trends across major apartment projects were improving, becoming more environmentally and more design focused. I found the comments positive and its part of the reason I would like to highlight a new project, Link in Zetland designed by Turner + Associates. Colliers International are marketing this project so I will firstly acknowledge that connection.

Link in Zetland

For Link how to leverage the best aspects of design is a key driver of the project in particular because the project sits in Sydney’s South, an area of major supply across areas like Green Square and Victoria Park.

However, beyond creating a commercial advantage, the design qualities applied to the project are very interesting and reflect many of the points made in the Mijollo post.

There has been a lot of effort made to connect with a very sophisticated target market with Turner + Associates keen to exploit all of the advantages of an island site, increasingly rare and at the same time, a bit of a gateway location – highly visible. These factors always create added design pressures.

I understand the driving idea was to breakout of a design ‘straightjacket’, to be colourful, create a blend of residential, commercial, retail and public spaces and always having an eye to environmental principals.

Open space is a key element at Link, there’s a blend of private landscaped areas and gardens, with big areas of public access plazas and importantly planting in some areas will be of ‘forest’ proportions. It’s clearly great to see that most projects have now moved away from simply planting weedy stock.

As more people live in apartments, and as the demographic becomes much wider, it is important to see design standards keep up. And so when I read that colours like pistachio and ox-blood are to be used at Link it is very reassuring. This will give the building much more character and appeal, clearly no more ‘little boxes made out of ticky tacky’ all just the same.

I think it’s also important to acknowledge that good design does not always involve excessive extra cost for the developer and subsequently passed on to the purchaser. It’s all a matter of planning so that residents can identify with the project as home. This can be achieved by for example, having more dedicated foyers, as Link does. Lining up to catch the lift or collect your mail is never fun!

There is also a lifestyle connection between exciting design and a willingness to be an innovator. That is buyers will be attracted to these projects and when they, if you will pardon the pun, link into local facilities – shops, cafes and the like creates a positive cycle.

This is because well-designed buildings enhance the local community and clearly compliment the local facilities and this in-turn creates further investment, which is a bonus for the residents.