The original facade in Camperdown has been retained.  The trees on the left are in Camperdown Park.

The original facade has been retained. The trees on the left are in Camperdown Park.  The trees on the right were planted as part of the development.

Attractive seating, attractive fences, plus great trees & gardens.   In there is also a swimming pool.

Attractive seating, attractive fencing, plus great trees & gardens. In there is also a swimming pool.

part of the public walkway.  Care has been taken to make this area attractive as well.

Part of the public walkway looking onto Denison Street. Care has been taken to make this area attractive as well.

Street tree planting & verge gardens were part of the development project.

Street tree planting & verge gardens were part of the development project.  I think it looks wonderful.

For quite a while there has been frequent debate on Facebook regarding the plethora of apartment developments recently built in Marrickville & Dulwich Hill, in the process of being constructed or currently in the DA process. I think it is good to see such community interest.

The majority who leave comments are not against high-rise & recognise the need for more housing, though it is my impression that there is a consensus that the Local Environment Plan should be respected in regards to height restrictions. There are varying opinions as to whether retaining facades or recreating facades is good or the all-modern concrete & glass boxes are the way to go.  Many want to facades to fit in with the streetscape & I am one of those who hold this view.

The term “affordable housing” is used often; though $500,000 plus for a one-bedroom apartment is not anywhere near what I would consider affordable.  The term is a misnomer in my opinion.

A couple of weekends ago I visited Camperdown Park.  From there I noticed a lot of new street tree planting & verge gardens, so I went over to have a look.  I found myself outside a relatively new apartment development called ‘The Gantry.’  After having a good look around & after talking to residents I came away thinking that this is the way to provide very livable housing.

While I was looking around, I kept thinking of the new developments happening & the community conversation about these developments.

The Gantry offers one, two, three & four bedroom apartments, so the complex does offer that politically hot term – “affordable housing.”  To offer a comparison, the pricing is similar to ‘The Revolution’ on Illawarra Road Marrickville, though from the whole outlook & green space provision, the two are poles apart.

‘The Gantry,’ located at 139-143 Parramatta Road, Camperdown is where the Fowler pottery warehouses & High Bay building used to be.  Marrickville is famous for Fowler Pottery, so it is wonderful to have retained this historical link while repurposing the factory.  The complex also fronts Denison & Australia Streets & is opposite Camperdown Park.

The Architects managed to keep the historic façade.  They also incorporated verge gardens & street trees, radically improving on what was a treeless & visually harsh side of the road. The shape of the buildings was interesting & quite attractive, so I am very pleased that they were retained.

This development shows that very good, personable & livable housing can be designed & that it can fit into the streetscape without looking like an ultra-modern building in a primarily Federation style area.  Of interest, there is gated underground parking for residents.

Inside is modern, while outside retained the façade that has been here since the 1850s. To me, this is important. Other big cities of the world like London, Paris & New York have retained much of their building history & I cannot see why the same cannot be done for Sydney. I can remember when the Queen Victoria building was regarded as an eyesore & there was a strong push to knock it down, just like they did to the Anthony Horden Building in Haymarket. Now the Queen Victoria building is viewed a jewel in the heart of Sydney’s CBD & we lost the gorgeous Anthony Horden Building.

I was very surprised at the amount of green space in The Gantry development. A public walkway paved with old bricks (not concrete or granite), cuts between two buildings.  Here a panel describing the history of the building is mounted on the wall.  Above are metal beams & glass that open up to the sky. Many examples of original fowler pottery have been mounted onto the wall to further provide a historical link. I am sure this building will be put on a tourist trail, if this hasn’t happened already. People can come & see without intruding on the residents who live here.

This is a very clever way to soften the visual environment.

This is a very clever way to soften the visual environment.

The walkway has long good-looking wooden benches where people can sit. There are plants everywhere.  Grasses have been used, but not as the dominant plant.  There are a wide variety of hardy plants & quite a few tall growing trees. Pot plants line corridors between buildings, so nature features everywhere.

Street trees have been planted at regular intervals on both Denison & Australia Streets.  Even the planting of the verge gardens is imaginative & attractive.   There is quite a bit to learn from their low maintenance plant choices.

There are two large garden areas that are like large pocket parks. These are perfect places to catch a bit of sun, read a book or the like.  There is also a good-sized swimming pool.   The very leafy Camperdown Park is just across the road complete with incredible moving exercise equipment available to use for free.   It’s like a mini-gym of quality that I don’t think I’ve seen in any other park in the municipality.

All the people I spoke to said they liked living there & it did not seem to be a place where people bought as a stop-gap before moving on to something better.  It is a humanistic environment with softness that nature provides.  I think the Architect who designed The Gantry did really well & three cheers to the developer who wanted to add quality housing, not just make a quick buck. This is an excellent example of what can be done when designing high-density housing.  I just wish this were the norm.

A nice place to sit while waiting for your friends to come out.  Everywhere you look there are plants & trees.

A nice place to sit while waiting for your friends to come out. Everywhere you look there are plants & new tree plantings.

The Australia Street landscaping that first caught my eye.  The Street Tree Master Plan says Council will not plant street trees opposite parks. Despite the large trees in Camperdown Park, I believe this street will look wonderful once these Poplars have grown up.

The Australia Street landscaping that first caught my eye. The Marrickville Street Tree Master Plan says Council will not plant street trees opposite parks, however, these plantings have been done as part of the development.   It looks wonderful now & will be even more lovely when these Poplars have grown up.

The historical signage inside the public walkway

The historical signage inside the public walkway. Again, look at the variety of plants.

Looking upwards.  On the wall is orginal Fowler pottery.  It looks clean, bright & very attractive to my eyes.

Looking upwards. On the wall is orginal Fowler pottery. It looks clean, bright & very attractive to my eyes.

They have chosen easy to manage, hardy & attractive plants with a tree planted in every verge garden.

They have chosen easy to manage, hardy & attractive plants with a tree planted in every verge garden.

 

In Steel Park Marrickville South you get wooden benches & chin-up poles for free-to-use exercise equipment, which is great. In Camperdown Park you get state-of-the-art equipment, also free-to-use.

In Steel Park Marrickville South you get wooden benches & chin-up poles for free-to-use exercise equipment, which is great.  In Camperdown Park you get state-of-the-art equipment, also free-to-use.  There is a vast difference.

 

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