Design for the topography Print

Design Outcome

Desi​gn Checklist​​​​

  1. The building works with the existing topography to maximise views, privacy and other site opportunities 
  2. Retaining elements are carefully integrated as a part of the design
  3. The design proposal maintains the important natural features within the site 
  4. The building and site design respond to the landform; minimising the extent of earthworks

Better Design Practice

Aim​ for changes to sloping land to appear as natural as possible by: 

  • ​Avoiding straight vertical or horizontal planes that stand out when looking at the site. 
  • Including space for planting and vegetation to soften the view of large scale ​engineering structures. 
  • Making stormwater ponds appear like natural bodies of water, not artificial ’boxes’ with straight sides. 
  • Balance cuts into the land with fills, instead of using cuts or fills alone. 
  • Incorporate retaining as part of the overall building or landscaping proposal.​​

Design the building for ‘up-slope’ and ‘down-slope conditions’ relative to the street by:​
  • ​Carefully locating the building entry and car parking access, while creating a street presence.
  • Minimising the setback to achieve a close relationship between the building and street edge. The setback of the building from the back edge of the footpath determines the extent of earthworks, the position of the entry level building platform and the length or cut of any vehicular drive.
  • Use parts of the slope for the open spaces associated with the development, incorporating it as terracing. Create flat outdoor spaces around the building. Battering (creating a consistent slope) across the whole site creates unusable spaces.
  • Utilise the slope for undercroft (undercut) or basement car parking wherever possible.​
  • Capture special views or outlooks.

Rules of Thumb

Minimise the use of highly visible large retaining walls. If they are over a metre they should be stepped and landscaped.

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