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My Ideal House

Thursday, 18th February 2016

When launching a national competition amongst architects to create a new housing style, NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes said he’d like to see a revival of the terrace.

Sydney developer CD Construction Group has answered his SOS, bringing the much-loved terrace into the 21st Century by incorporating the best features of an apartment and a house.

With their soaring ceilings, dramatic voids, flexible spaces, natural light-filled interiors, cross-flow ventilation and outdoor living options, The Zinc Terraces in the Green Square precinct are winning praise for their breakthrough design.

The six three-storey Torrens Title terraces at 221-225 Queen Street Beaconsfield total 172sqm internally -- their clever layouts making maximum use of every centimetre -- plus 40sqm of external space.

They have three bedroom, three bathrooms, a top-level ‘parents retreat’, an internal courtyard open to the sky, front and rear gardens, a rear garage, and a high level of finishes and inclusions. The Zinc Terraces also contain a practical space with a bathroom and kitchenette built above the garage known as a ‘Fonzie Flat’. The euphuism describes the studio occupied by ‘The Fonz’ above the Cunningham’s garage in the TV series ‘Happy Days’.

“There is great demand for this sort of clever space from people wishing to use it as an office, a studio or simply as a retreat,” said Nathan Fuzz, a director of CD Construction Group. “It can also become a home office, a teenager’s pad, accommodation for a visiting friend or relative, or be rented out as a source of income.”

The Zinc Terraces provide a medium-density alternative to apartment living, and bridge the gap between practicality and aesthetics by solving such issues as:

  • Peace and privacy: There is no-one living above or below you. Solid masonry walls separate each terrace, maximising lateral acoustic separation.
  • Street presence: Unlike an apartment, The Zinc Terraces have a separate entity from the street, with a fence, mailbox and front yard, establishing a sense of connection with the neighbourhood.
  • Diversity of space: Most Sydney apartments can be seen and understood in as little as one glance. These terraces, however, have interesting and flexible spaces to explore on every floor.
  • Outdoor options: Most people who move from a house to an apartment bemoan the loss of a front and back yard. These terraces have both.
  • Natural light: Skylights and an open void bring natural light to the vertical circulation spine. All spaces are open to the morning or afternoon sun.
  • Solar access: Large retracting glass panels allow internal spaces to flow seamlessly to a sun drenched courtyard at ground level. Bedrooms enjoy the connection with extensive balconies that provide district views.
  • Entertaining: The rear lane garage connects to the internal courtyard and can be transformed into covered entertaining space.
  • Storage: Generous wardrobes and storage spaces have been cleverly integrated into the slick design.

Terraces have been in Australia since the 1830’s, embracing such styles as Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian. As enchanting are they are to look at, living in a terrace involves compromises. Rooms are cramped and stuffy, circulation is stifled, staircases are steep, balconies are impractical, and storage and entertaining options are few.

The 1970’s introduced the townhouse and the villa to Australia, which overcame most of the internal space issues but lacked the charm and street presence of the terrace.

The Zinc Terraces combine the ambiance of a New York-style ‘brownstone’ with a traditional Australian house to meet today's urban lifestyle needs.

“We’ve taken the raw concept of a grand Victorian terrace and redesigned contemporary living spaces, integrating principles of sustainable design as a commitment to responsible living for the future,” said Gustavo Thiermann of Ink Architects. “We’ve stacked three levels of living, sleeping, entertaining, and working zones to give residents the flexibility to seek out, and find, a variety of spaces.”

“Each terrace capitalises on the site’s ideal solar aspect, which has obvious environmental benefits in both summer and winter. They gain natural cross-flow ventilation, which reduces the need for artificial cooling during summer months. Heating is provided through a clean hydronic in-slab heating system,” said Mr Thiermann.

Sydney property expert Peter Shield says the terraces offer a different lifestyle option to the thousands of strata apartments being planned for Green Square, Australia’s largest urban renewal project.

“These terraces have many of the attributes of a house while offering the convenience of an urban location, just 450 metres from Green Square Railway Station,” said Mr Shield.

“They are ideal for growing families, ticking every box from size, orientation, location and lifestyle, and because they are Torrens Title the on-going living costs will be extremely moderate.”

Just two of the six terraces remain, for $1.895M, through Ray White Erskineville.

CD Construction Group expects to complete The Zinc Terraces by later this year. A off-site display centre is open at Ray White Erskineville, 77-79 Erskineville Road, with enquiries through 1800 219 838 or www.zincterraces.com.au

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Comment from MelBrandle on Wednesday, 18th May 2016

I would love to go and visit the show flats for these new terrace houses. From the sounds of it, these houses probably are maximising the self storage space within the homes to keep it neat and tidy too! It sounds like a very exciting new concept where the different levels of the house have i its own identity!

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