While reports of the demise of the bachelor-pad might be true as more adult children stay at home with mum and dad, apartment living has become much more popular with families. This is driving the popularity of 3-bedroom apartments and townhouses. With more families in apartment projects there’s a new level of demand for purpose designed play-spaces. Where families are located close to the city centre, access to recreational space might be limited. Playrooms although not yet common, are becoming an important part of building facilities and design seen in the UK and USA, are often focused on creative play and exercise. Like private cinema rooms and community entertainment areas, these facilities reflect the continued maturity of apartment projects with facilities moving way beyond a traditional pool or gym area.

 Apple Looks to Add Energy to Retail

Apple & their architects Foster + Partners have just completed a new store in Chicago. The two having already worked together for Apple’s new headquarters in California and a growing number of its retail stores. What’s interesting is the use of retail to rebuild vibrant civic realms in cities, part of the design intention Apple and their architects reference. It’s a trend we already see in successful mixed-use developments where retail and apartments are good partners. With so much chatter around on-line shopping, Apple are looking to create spaces capable of bringing people together and having joint experiences. The aim is to create place where people can teach each other stuff and interact, suggesting that shopping may well be the last remaining form of public activity. Luxury brand Tiffany has recently opened a café in their New York flag-shop store, making ‘breakfast at Tiffany’s’ a reality. Will we see a café in Tiffany’s new Pitt Street store in Sydney next year?

 Strata buildings bond inspections scheme starts Jan 2018

Fair Trading NSW remind us that the new strata building bond and inspections scheme will start on 1 January 2018. This will require developers of new residential and mixed use high-rise strata projects that are four storeys or higher to lodge a building bond with NSW Fair Trading. The bond is calculated at 2% of the contract price for the building work. Any defective building work noted between 15 and 18 months but not rectified before the end of 24 months may be fixed using funds secured by the building bond.

Housing Numbers

The HIA snap shoot of the housing industry shows some interesting facts. Here’s a few:

  • The total number of homes built in 2016 231,658 (detached homes 116,937 & apar5tments 112,260),
  • Total value $95.4 billion,
  • People working across the industry 1,064,000 – all impressive figures.
  • It also appears homes are getting bigger at 266sqm in 2016 but lot sizes are shrinking down to 431sqm a drop of some 21% in a decade.
  • New home starts were at their highest level since the end of WW11.

Street Names

What’s in a name? Street names that is. Street names are something we all use every day and for anyone charged with suggesting street names for a new subdivision or estate it can be an up-hill task. This was of course far less a problem when our first cities were established, but looking at street names in our older CBD areas provides an interesting, if predictable trend. Most if not all are associated with Britain and with past kings and queens very notable. To prove the point here’s ten of the most popular: George, William, Church, High, King, Queen, Short, John, Victoria and of course Elizabeth. In the USA, they are a little more utilitarian where the top three street names are enumerates: Second (10,866), Third (10,132) and First (9,898). Still we’ve seen the same idea used in some areas of Sydney.