Redefining human scale

An interview with Mulberry architects, Gerard, Andy and Rob from Cox Architecture.

After 100 years, the advent of a light rail Canberra finaly makes sense. The revitalisation of Northbourne is set to create an impressive new gateway into the city, providing a real sense of arrival. Cox architects Rob, Gerard and Andy feel that the right planning will make the corridor a stately and impressive avenue. It's a big move in the right direction for Canberra.

Having worked closely with the ACT Government since 2014, they are making sure Soho is exactly what Canberra needs for a precinct. It has been a careful collaboration, taking note of the original concepts of balance between density and gardens.

'The term 'human scale' is often associated with small things.' Says Gerard, 'But for me it's far more human to be in a place where you can look out the window and see people coming and going. That?s more of a human scale than one where you must get in your car to see anyone.'

Cox has ensured that Soho's first release, Mulberry, strikes the perfect balance for an urban lifestyle. They have meticulously planned for homes that create a sense of place. Creating five buildings instead of one will help with human scale, so people will know their neighbours and community.

'We've tried to give a sense of identity to the individual addresses' Rob says, 'but ultimately there is something that stitches it together architecturally.'

The building facades are practical and honest.

'The challenge is how to get a consistent urban outcome along Northbourne Avenue. It's something we're very conscious of, particularly as it is a national avenue. There had to be a certain calmness and continuity between the Mulberry buildings.'

Inside, the apartments have been created for liveability. They are wide, maximising the light in each room and designed for a greater use of space. Cox worked closely with Darren Palmer to ensure the apartments are beautiful, comfortable and homely. All these things contribute to a lifestyle that people will enjoy.

'People will live at Mulberry because they want to be on the corridor. They're close to the city, to Dickson and to lots of amenities.'

Andy assures that the outdoor amenities will also add to people's lives in a variety of ways. The mix of active travel, proximity to the city and Dickson, landscaped gardens and considered apartments lend to a great way of living.

Densifying our city is no easy task, but the careful planning will become our greatest asset as Canberra grows. Planning will make sure that densifying does not mean compromising.

'It's an important role for our generation, that we're advocates for higher density. If people choose to live in apartments, this is what they're looking for.'