Fender Katsalidis’ $250M Build-to-Rent Development Approved for Canberra’s Northbourne Avenue

Fender Katsalidis build-to-rent development on Canberra’s premier route; Northbourne Avenue.
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In a significant milestone for Canberra’s urban landscape, Fender Katsalidis has obtained design approval for a $250 million build-to-rent development situated along the city’s premier thoroughfare, Northbourne Avenue.

Located at 220 Northbourne Avenue in Braddon, approximately two kilometres north of Canberra’s CBD, the development marks the city’s second build-to-rent project on a strategically important site. Positioned at a pivotal intersection under the National Capital Plan’s City and Gateway framework, with the light rail running past its doorstep, 220 Northbourne Avenue serves as a gateway to Canberra’s offerings.

Comprising three buildings, the development will feature 393 apartments alongside commercial and retail spaces on the ground level. The range of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom rentals aims to cater to Canberra’s diverse renter demographic, including students, families, and young professionals.

Fender Katsalidis build-to-rent development on Canberra’s premier route; Northbourne Avenue.
^Fender Katsalidis designed build-to-rent development on Canberra’s premier route; Northbourne Avenue. (Image: Fender Katsalidis)

David Robinson, associate principal at Fender Katsalidis, emphasized the significance of build-to-rent in Canberra’s evolving residential landscape.

“The build-to-rent typology in Canberra is in its infancy but is a critically important addition to residential living. We’re thrilled to continue shaping the landscape in Australia’s Capital Territory and set a standard for excellence in build-to-rent living. Providing a richness of amenity and experience to residents was front-of-mind throughout our design process and ensuring that community-centric living and convenience are central to the design. We’re really excited to be paving the way for this new type of living in such an important location for the city’, stated Robinson.

The site’s connectivity is enhanced by a network of gardens, plazas, and laneways, facilitating access to amenities and creating inviting spaces for the community. In addition to coworking areas, wellness facilities, and a rooftop terrace, plans include supporting artists in residence and hosting programmed events to energize the precinct and enhance the ground plane experience.

Canberra’s National Capital Plan and its principles of urban renewal have influenced the design, transforming the Macarthur Node into a symbolic gateway to the city. The formal landscape of the avenue merges seamlessly with the precinct’s ground plane, while landscaped features on the lower ground enhance tree coverage and site permeability.

Each building boasts distinctive facades, contributing to the precinct’s diversity and providing a unique identity. The northern building anchors the new plaza at the intersection, while the central building features a rhythmic grid expression on lower floors and a sculptural form on upper levels. The southern building incorporates external terraces and interacts with a landscaped laneway adorned with urban art.

^Fender Katsalidis designed build-to-rent development on Canberra’s premier route; Northbourne Avenue. (Image: Fender Katsalidis)
^Each building will boast distinctive facades. (Image: Fender Katsalidis)

A striking enclosed glass-roof atrium in the central building serves as a focal point, surrounded by residential amenities and creating a communal space for residents. From the rooftop garden on the 8th floor, residents can enjoy sweeping views of the north and east, showcasing Canberra’s iconic bush landscape.

“We wanted to create a moment of surprise for people when they enter the atrium. We hope the dynamism of the space coupled with the rich landscape and enclosed roof will captivate Northbourne Avenue’s residents and visitors.” David Robinson added.

Fender Katsalidis collaborated extensively with ESD consultants to analyze glazing performance, shading, window-to-wall ratios, and the positioning of balconies and wintergardens. As a result of this collaboration, there was a significant decrease in cooling peak loads by 31%, heating peak loads by 13%, and total energy demand by 23%.

The central residential building boasts a sculptural horseshoe design, incorporating open-air corridors to facilitate cross ventilation between apartments and enhance flexibility in warmer seasons. Thoughtful consideration of solar access and the use of efficient materials ensure high-performance facades throughout the year. Embracing the trend towards renewable energy in Canberra, the precinct will adopt a gas-free, all-electric design.

Emphasizing Canberra’s identity as the ‘bush capital,’ the landscape plays a pivotal role in the design. In collaboration with landscape architecture and urban design specialists Oculus, native plants are strategically incorporated to provide year-round greenery, enhancing community amenity, increasing tree canopy coverage, and promoting habitat biodiversity.

Peta Miskovich, Senior Associate at OCULUS, emphasized the design’s responsiveness to Canberra’s climate.

“We’ve carefully designed spaces that respond to Canberra’s distinct climate, to create functional, flexible, and enjoyable outdoor places for people to inhabit year-round.”

The approval of the Fender Katsalidis Northbourne Avenue design represents a significant step forward in Canberra’s urban development, promising to set new standards for sustainable, community-focused living in the city.

Note: The information presented in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, financial, or professional advice. While we make every effort to fact-check and verify the information presented, we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Readers are encouraged to independently verify any information they find on our website and to consult with relevant professionals before making any decisions based on the information presented. The Australian Development Review does not own the rights to the information included within this article, and furthermore, there is no infringement intended from the included text and images within.


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