Building placement Print

Design Outcome

Desi​gn Checklist

  1. The development has a clear network of routes and spaces through the site that are shaped by clearly defined private and communal space
  2. The buildings are located to contribute to a positive streetscape character, with building frontages and entries onto the street
  3. The design responds positively to the existing site conditions, such as views, orientation, natural features and surrounding buildings 
  4. The building placement demonstrates a clear public front and private back

Consideration of building placement can produce multiple environmental benefits, including enhanced solar access, effective stormwater mitigation, and an increased area for planting or productive gardens.​

Better Design Practice

A clear network of routes and spaces

The building location should enhance or establish a clear hierarchy of roads and paths through the site by:
  • ensuring buildings address the street
  • introducing new roads or lanes to increase connectivity through larger sites
  • creating 'through' links to improve connectivity within the block and overall street network; it should be clear whether these links are public or private and they should be clearly signposted, overlooked and well-lit
  • ensuring the site has a clear layout and internal way-finding for all routes of movement.

The design and layout of buildings should make it clear what space around the building is intended for. Routes for movement should also be clear from the design and layout; well-designed developments do not need multiple signs to tell visitors how to move around the site.

The placement of the building should allow for open spaces to be integrated into the overall development to meet the needs of its occupants.

Positive streetscape character

Where streets are to be edged and defined by buildings, design solutions could include:
  • aligning buildings to the street on streets that run east-west​;
  • using courtyards on streets that run north-south, and using L-shaped configurations with increased setbacks on north-facing side boundaries.​

Enhance perceived safety and minimise the potential for crime and vandalism by orienting apartments and other facilities to overlook streets and open spaces. This is especially important on routes to and from schools, public transport stops and other routes used at night.

Respond to the existing conditions of the site

The building location should maximise opportunities to capture important local and strategic views, while mitigating any negative aspects of the site such as visual intrusions or noise.

Optimise and enhance the natural resources of the site by using and protecting natural features such as planting, topography and waterways.

Public fronts and private backs:

All buildings should have a public front and a private back. It is better to align buildings with public streets or open space and create a defined street edge, and to maximise back to back distances with other buildings. This pattern of development allows for ‘perimeter blocks’ which reinforce the street edge and maximise the available open space within the centre of the block.

On sites with limited road frontage, the accessway or lane becomes the equivalent of a public street, and this should be defined as the public front of the building. On these and any other awkwardly shaped sites, it is important to make it clear to the public how the building and spaces around it can be accessed.

Apartment buildings should not expose the ‘back’ of a building onto the ‘front’ of an adjacent building.

Rules of Thumb

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