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Case study - The best of community, location and good design—Arkadia Apartments

The Minister for Defence Personnel the Hon Darren Chester MP joined our Chairman, the Hon J.A.L. (Sandy) Macdonald, on 20 February 2020 to officiate the much anticipated grand opening of Arkadia Apartments—DHA’s residential project located in the inner Sydney suburb of Alexandria.

Comprising 152 apartments offering a mix of studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments and terraces, Arkadia Apartments brings spacious living to life. Open plan layouts create an airy flow from the kitchen to the balcony, while signature brick patterns and individual floorplans make every home a unique part of the neighbourhood.

The ethos of tight knit communities is supported by the development’s cleverly composed buildings which house seven to eight apartments on each level. Each building has a communal vegetable garden and a separate rooftop recreational area complete with barbeque facilities. Arkadia Apartments encourages a connection to the local community through gathering spaces and small scale entrances. Landscaping and an integrated public pocket park seeks to give something back to the wider community.

The site, which is bordered by Huntley Street to the north and Sydney Park Road to the south, is situated directly opposite one of Sydney’s most vibrant parks and close to Alexandria’s thriving café scene with great access to the CBD, eastern beaches, the airport, night life and schools. Key drivers of demand for the properties include proximity to public transport, Sydney CBD, hospitals and universities.

Arkadia rooftop

Extensive research into the site’s history, the community and the environment was undertaken to inform the design that sets a new benchmark for sustainable multi residential development in Australia. Built on the original footprint of a 1870s brickyard, the façade is almost entirely constructed from recycled brick and has been heralded as the largest recycled brick building in Australia. From world class weather sensitive design and air reticulation, to the thermal efficiency of the solid brick envelope—as well as a chicken run, plentiful bike spaces and drought tolerant planting—the sustainability features ensure a minimal environmental footprint.

A key initiative of the 2019–20 corporate strategy was to negotiate housing flexibility for major metropolitan areas. The ADF has a strong presence in Sydney’s inner city with three Defence bases located only 10kms from this complex. Arkadia Apartment is a shining example of how DHA continues to deliver inspired, sustainable projects while also providing modern choices for ADF members and their families in central locations. As such, 55 per cent of Arkadia Apartments has been retained by DHA for Defence housing, comprising all two bedroom homes in the complex, along with a select number of one and three bedroom options.

Award winning design principles

In June 2020, the Australia Institute of Landscape Architects awarded Arkadia Apartments the NSW Landscape Achitecture Award for Gardens from among a pool of 63 entries—a record number in the history of the state’s program.

In July 2020, the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects celebrated the state’s best architecture, with a total of 41 awards presented across 13 categories. Arkadia Apartments was honoured with the Architecture Award in the category of Sustainable Architecture, celebrating the outstanding architectural collaboration of DKO Architecture with Breathe Architecture and Oculus.

A new category in this year’s program was the People’s Choice Awards for Life in 2020, which was created by the NSW Chapter in response to the ways COVID-19 has altered our relationship to housing, workplaces and the public domain. This marked the first time the public was able to have its say. Arkadia Apartments was voted the winner in the category of Isolation Oasis.