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Sydney's Casba rocks the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards

The Property Addict / Architecture & Design

Nov 11 2015

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The world's most impressive mixed-use development of 2015 is a medium-density residential infill development in Sydney's inner west, according to the world's largest architectural awards program. Designed by SJB in collaboration with Billard Leece Partnership, with interiors by BKH and developed by Cornerstone property Group, Casba has won the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Award for Mixed Use Completed Buildings. Australia's HDR Rice Daubney was also a winner, taking out the Future Projects: Health category for the Al Maha Centre for Children and Young Adults, Doha, Qatar. The World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards judges praised the Casba designers' successful blend of public realm with retail and residential purposes, celebrating the project as a leading example of how to balance urban renewal with respect to the changing demographics and population growth in Sydney. Casba Situated in Waterloo in what was once an area dominated by light industry, Casba references the warehouse typology of the precinct, according to Adam Haddow, director of SJB Architects Sydney and principle architect for the development. "With Casba, we wanted to honour the established grain and texture of the Waterloo location but we had to balance heritage considerations of this former warehouse precinct with the growing expectations of inner city living environments," Haddow said. Comprising 65 residential dwellings and 3,000 sqm of retail space, to achieve good urban renewal, Casba was conceived around three guiding elements: a communal, publically accessible courtyard, a pedestrian link throughout the site and active street edges. "Context is always a key consideration in any development. As an infill project, we had to create a building that responds to the street and actively participates in the urban landscape. A key question for us in designing Casba was how, do we make sure the public domain isn't just space left over between buildings?" Haddow said. David Leece, director of BLP and co-designer with Haddow explained that the design approach was to start with the round-the-clock, publicly accessible, internal courtyard or cloister. "We made the cloister the most important space of Casba. The cloister is what defines the way the site is arranged and gives the area its heart, its place of connection," Leece said. To inject character to the public realm of the development and also reference the heritage of the original warehouses, recycled bricks were used in the cloister and throughout. Residential buildings are made of brick and painted white, providing a quiet and restrained backdrop to the residential environment within. "As our cities grow and the demand for housing options increases, it's essential that developments not only contribute to the built environment, but also contribute to the society. We have an obligation to create places people want to not only sleep and relax, but also connect with their community. We hope we achieved this with Casba," Leece said. This article first published by David Wheeldon on Architecture and Design. MR_A_4633_Casba_BB_93 MR_A_4633_Casba_BB_315

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