2015 Sydney Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design
design champion, best studio, best start-up & best supplier
plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage
growing demand for design

Image Credit : Images courtesy of Richard Crookes Constructions




Project Overview

Sitting within the unique historical Carriageworks Precinct, rich in Victorian and industrial history, the newly completed “The Platform” at Eveleigh delivers 88 designer affordable housing apartments, built for essential city workers on lower incomes. Arcadia Landscape Architecture worked with Architectus and CityWest Housing (CWH) to design the landscape for this project, formulating a design that mixes materials of the original era with modern landscape design concepts, to create a new and vibrant place for people to enjoy.

CWH prides itself on creating buildings that are equal to, or better, in design, appearance and quality than other residential flats in the immediate vicinity of their developments. This is to ensure that CWH affordable housing can only ever be seen, by all stakeholders, as quality residential accommodation.

The North Eveleigh Carriage Workshops site is of high historic, aesthetic and technological significance. To retain the heritage and culture of the workshops, Arcadia implemented an extensive reuse of the materials from the site into the design. The result is a setting that connects residents to the unique context while contributing to the social atmosphere.

Project Commissioner

City West Housing

Project Creator

Arcadia Landscape Architecture


Michael Barnett - Lead Designer/Project Manager
Alex Longley - Project Director
Matthew Simpkins - Project Landscape Architect
Andrew Mason - Project Landscape Architect

Project Brief

Arcadia was briefed to provide a design which would retain the heritage and culture of the workshops, with an emphasis on creating spaces for residents to gather and interact. CWH wanted this project to change perceptions of what affordable housing looks like by delivering a stylish, modern, comfortable and flexible housing development.

The brief highlighted the role of a Community Liaison Officer who has the responsibility for fostering sharing and engagement within the resident community, including larger resident gatherings. The aim of the engagement is to encourage a healthier, happier internal community and Arcadia was asked to create a dynamic, cultural area for all to enjoy. It was essential that Arcadia’s designs provided adaptable spaces, with room for passive play, exercise or simply relaxing, including areas for gardening and growing vegetables and herbs.

Arcadia’s design needed to provide strategies to balance the existing post-industrial landscape character with the future residential use and requirement for amenity. Landscaped zones were to provide a subtle transition to the building edge.

Project Innovation/Need

The brief was unique with its emphasis on the importance of a landscape which would foster community spirit within “The Platform”. Arcadia’s innovative design used a combination of landscape principles and planting typologies to deliver a range of spaces to foster community engagement for years to come.

Two zones have been identified for use as productive landscapes - one on the ground floor and the other on the roof terrace. These spaces will provide amenity for residents with garden bed planting, tending and harvesting offering collective cooperation and social interaction opportunities.

Urban trees, shrubs and wildlife help people maintain their connection with nature. In an area with minimal flora or fauna on the streetscape, this precinct will be characterised by the inclusion of an urban forest made up of a mixed native tree canopy and defined ground cover beds, populated by a range of Australian natives and perennials.

Planting within the amenity zone responds to microclimate and growing conditions. A mixture of native and exotic species provide shade and solar access as necessary throughout the year. Garden beds are layered, providing a vivid mixture of colours, textures and forms and enhancing visual amenity.

Design Challenge

Creating open space for people to enjoy was at the forefront of Arcadia’s landscape design for “The Platform”. A significant challenge was the orientation of the site, which results in a rear courtyard that is protected from the sun for most of the year, making it less appealing in winter.

Arcadia’s designs created a variety of microclimatic zones to ensure residents are provided with comfortable spaces to inhabit throughout the day and year.

Additional areas on the northern and western street frontages provide amenity for residents and the local community at the public realm interface. The installation of large timber seating elements provides a social setting to enjoy the winter sun, or to shelter in the shade during summer.

The roof terrace provides breakout space that will offer year round amenity with ample solar access. Efficient use of this space was important to maximise potential functions. Furniture and shade structures allow for localised microclimate control while accommodating larger groups.


Reuse and recycling of many of the structural and design elements contributed to efficient use of resources. This included reuse of salvaged timber beams from the original building for seating benches, expressed decking bearers and pergola uprights, an old air tank repurposed as a water feature, original railway ticket stamps, warehouse lighting and machinery, all used as decorative elements. No new seating was purchased for the site, with old train platform benches recycled for use within the landscape design.

An urban forest, utilising native and indigenous trees, provides shelter and habitat for local fauna. This has resulted in a landscape which encourages biodiversity in a post-industrial area of Sydney which traditionally has a constrained ecological integrity. The species have been chosen to provide stormwater filtration during storm events. The canopy will help to moderate the local climate - slowing wind and reducing the urban heat island effect during the summer months.

The landscape design has used xeriscape gardening in places to ensure that little to no water is needed for growth. On Site Detention and Rainwater Tanks are provided to cater for irrigation needs , reducing pressure on potable water sources.

This award celebrates creativity and innovation in the use of practical, aesthetic, horticultural, and environmental sustainability components, taking into account climate, site and orientation, site drainage and irrigation, human and vehicular access, furnishings and lighting.
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