St Leonards is a large precinct of predominantly industrial use in North Sydney. A new land-use mix was proposed for our client’s site, incorporating medical, residential, hotel, amenity and light industrial uses, anchoring the site within a newly proposed Health Precinct.
The site faced multiple challenges: steep topography as well as strict planning controls regarding main use and maximum density. SUPERSPACE provided crucial evidence to support planning and design decisions across scales:
Spatial Demographics & Transport: Potential to Support Higher Density
The first mappings revealed a distinctly Transit-Oriented density distribution in the surrounding areas, with the site itself an outlier in some respects: areas close to rail infrastructure tended to support high population densities, while the site, being very close to several rail stations had a very low one. Similarly, the surrounding areas presented a highly educated community, whereas the site had a marked lower education level. These gaps highlighted the site’s potential to support higher densities, with a demographic profile similar to the neighbouring areas.
Development Trends: Higher FSR
Then, we concentrated on recent development applications and new projects in the area, and found approved applications with an average FSR as high as 10:1. Together with further socioeconomic insights, the case was made to push for a project able to integrate higher densities, a good mix of uses integrating light industry, residential and commercial space catered to the demographic segment of the neighbouring residents and an improvement in accessibility, green space provision and user experience on the site.
Massing Studies: Connectivity, Public Realm, Wayfinding, Views
In the second stage, the focus was on the site itself: we worked with massing, access and views to handle a difficult topography and an oversized block. Several design iterations allowed us to suggest new connections, cutting the site in two halves and giving back some public green space, while generating interesting visual connections and improving wayfinding.
This phase was made in close collaboration with local design teams, so several designs could be tested and assessed, generating an array of possibilities that made it possible to optimize the massing study for both the neighborhood and the client’s needs.