The seed of an apple tree By Emma Barrett & Lachlan Burke​

The seed of an apple tree

​By Emma Barrett & Lachlan Burke​

Sydney. It’s a bustling global city with many visitors and also many residents. It has half the population of New York and twice the landmass, which makes it one of the best bad cases of sprawl and low density in the world. To add to this, it has a dismally low use of public transport, at 29%. However, it is a leader in Australia for low reliance on cars at only 82%. And in terms of density (as in population distribution)… Greater Sydney is the best by a narrow margin in Australia with its 4.4 million spread almost equally across all the hectares in Sydney. Australia is a country path-dependent on sprawl and indulgently addicted to idea of suburbia. 

Change needs to happen, so let’s start with an apple fresh and close to the tree. 

Sure its no big apple, but the CBD of Sydney itself is of high density and public transport use. The closest suburb of North Sydney is of low to medium density – primarily for residence. Starting the change here will mean a ripple will follow. In addition to this, it will maximise the efficiency of current improvements to transport. Currently, a project to improve rail transportation stands to demolish many low to high-density homes in the inner-city and Northern suburbs. However, by providing affordable multi-use buildings, dwellers have the opportunity to relocate closer to the city. Simultaneously, the beginning of an evolutionary movement to build up with wood means that such issues of stretching transport to further suburbs need not continue.

We have started with a block 7 minutes away from the North Sydney bus station which gets you anywhere in the CBD in less than 30 minutes. It is relatively flat with a large surface area for the roof. It is a perfect place to begin building Sydney up. 

The design makes careful consideration to making the transition to live and work upwards not only possible, but comfortable. Upon ascending the staircase to the top, future users will be delighted to find a luxurious open courtyard with ample space to enjoy fresh air at all times of day. When the occupants find their own one of 30 properties, they will discover that they have essential and familiar indoor modules, including a shared space, private space, kitchen and bathroom & laundry utilities. Each occupant here will find what they need, whether it be for residence or for work. The private spaces upstairs have wooden modules which the can configure for leisure, work, to adjust light flow or to separate spaces. Finally, users will feel embraced warmly by the sun without any compromise when it doesn’t shine as there is careful ​application of windows and roofing – including a skylight. Air flow, through back and front windows and fans is just as easily attained. 

It’s time for change and Sydney is the place to do it. Since it is already in the lead, it might as well be the flagship.​​

City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs