WestWyck goes North (finally).
After several painful and expensive journeys through VCAT WestWyck Pty Ltd finally has approved plans for the completion of the eco-village through to Victoria St. These approved plans permit a further eighteen apartments, taking the completed eco-village to thirty dwellings. The approved plans allow for five apartments on the western block of land currently called 492A Victoria St, another five apartments within the undeveloped northern portion of the school building (492 Victoria St) and eight apartments to the east on the site at 490 Victoria St.
The Stage Two brief has been to extend the scope of the eco-village maintaining consistency with what is already in place. WestWyck aims to stay at the leading edge of sustainable development, continuing to apply current thinking and technologies that will issue an ongoing challenge to the development industry. The major difference between Stages One and Two are that WestWyck Stage Two will be driven by an approved One Planet Action Plan, the first such plan to be approved by BioRegional in Australia. As with Stage One, as much attention will be paid to the spaces between the dwellings as to the individual apartments themselves.
Multiplicity, a design based architecture practice founded by co-directors interior designer Sioux Clark and architect Tim O'Sullivan, have produced three discrete sections of building to create Stage Two of the eco-village: Eastern Block, School building, Western Block.
To the east of the site, eight apartments are to be built over three levels, serviced by a lift. The design has contained the new apartments to one-level living as feedback from Stage One at WestWyck was that many potential purchasers resisted stairs. The eight apartments are built into three wings which form three sides of a quadrangle which encircles community space. The fourth side is completed by the existing 1880s school building. The east wing also contains the common room, a space designed for meetings, larger dinner parties, perhaps play space for children and other WestWyck events. This common area opens on to landscaped spaces to the east and the west.
At the centre of the site, and definitely for those who like stairs, will be the retrofitted Victorian-era school building. Four of these large apartments will wind up into the roof area, creating attic spaces and three-level living. One apartment is a solid squat two-bedroomed dwelling with a large courtyard garden and eastern aspect. These five new apartments within the school will complete the retrofit of the old building, joining the seven apartments already completed and occupied. The design pays homage to the school building, with the new edifices tapering down on the east and west allowing the school to resume its prominence in the landscape of Victoria St. Several of the beautiful native Australian trees, planted in 1970 by students are retained in the design and the theme of these mature species has influenced the selection of new species.
On the Western side of the school there are to be a further five apartments, again climbing over three levels. The design replicates the form of the eastern side with a quadrangle design being closed off on the fourth side by the original school building. Configuring the buildings like this maximises entry of critical north light and ensures that most dwellings have good northern aspect. As on the eastern side of the site, this layout again forms a landscaped space for shared activity. Unlike those on the eastern side, several of the western apartments are designed over split levels. There is no lift and they have not been specifically designed to meet reduced ability needs as on the eastern side of the site.
The western side of the site has an underground carpark with 16 spaces and allocated storage areas. This carpark is accessed via School Lane, a lane WestWyck Pty Ltd named and constructed more than a decade ago when it subdivided its land at 494 Victoria St.