ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s Robert Goodliffe and Toby Lauchlan discuss Penny Lane, future-proofed building design and share due diligence tips for buyers

ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s Robert Goodliffe and Toby Lauchlan discuss Penny Lane, future-proofed building design and share due diligence tips for buyers
ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s Robert Goodliffe and Toby Lauchlan discuss Penny Lane, future-proofed building design and share due diligence tips for buyers

Urban recently spoke with ClarkeHopkinsClarke's (CHC) Managing Partner Robert Goodliffe about the future of building sustainability in Australia. Today, Robert will be joined by CHC's Multi-Residential Partner Toby Lauchlan to discuss their exciting new development, Penny Lane, with commentary on building for increased longevity and some great due diligence tips for buyers. 

ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s Robert Goodliffe and Toby Lauchlan discuss Penny Lane, future-proofed building design and share due diligence tips for buyers
L-R: Toby Lauchlan, Robert Goodliffe

Urban.com.au: As one of the leading architecture and urban planning firms in Australia, what is the core ethos driving your influence?

Robert Goodliffe: We aspire to create vibrant communities, so we seek out projects and collaborators who share that goal. Several years ago our Urban Design Partner Dean Landy wrote a book called Creating Vibrant Communities to share our approach with the industry, and that’s found its way onto the coffee tables of most planning departments around Australia. It’s part personal journey, part research project that allowed him to interview 35 thought leaders in the space, and part playbook setting out step-by-step what it takes to design and activate healthy, walkable, connected communities. Dean’s been invited to speak about this methodology all over Australia and internationally, so that’s certainly helped spread the word.

Sharing our methods through Dean’s book ties into our philosophy as a BCorp, which is a growing international network of businesses balancing purpose and profit to be a force for good. BCorps are certified regularly and are legally obliged to consider the impact of decisions not just on staff and customers but on communities and the environment. Open-source IP is one way we’re trying to accelerate change in the design and construction industry. We can’t move forward fast enough as individuals, we need the whole industry. And that’s a challenge because winning work is a selection process so we’re set up to compete with one another. Most architects keep their IP close to their chest. But look at doctors – they hold conferences, publish research and learn from each other. Architects and developers and builders need to do much more of that if we’re serious about tackling the climate emergency.

Urban.com.au: Do you feel as though architects have enough of a say over how our cities are designed?

Robert Goodliffe: I think architects are really trying, but cities are slow-moving and we’re one influence among many. A lot of inner-city architects are inner-city focused. Since Dean’s book, we’ve designed some very progressive new town centres in outer suburbs and regions and found real support for work that’s sustainable socially, environmentally and financially. That creates impact over time.

What’s ‘enough’ of a say is hard to define. Design thinking is now increasingly valued, and architects have a voice through the Office of the Victorian Government Architect. But if a design doesn’t add value it doesn’t resonate. Architects and urban designers need to have practical solutions to make a real impact. Otherwise, you’re relying on benevolence. Much better to provide practical, commercial solutions because then you’ve got the weight of the market behind you. If you have a success you can build on that.

Urban.com.au: What motivates you to accept a project – is it the location? Scope of the design task? Developer’s reputation?

Robert Goodliffe: As a practice, in general, it’s our search for impact and shared commitment. Our BCorp ethos guides us towards projects where we feel we can make a difference. People are asking for more walkable, social, less disconnected cities. Developers see the commercial sense in delivering that.

Toby Lauchlan: With Penny Lane specifically we saw an opportunity to partner with Giancorp to help revitalise the Mt Alexander Road-end of the Puckle Street retail precinct and connect the somewhat disconnected residential area behind it. This location has amazing amenity – shops, restaurants, trams, trains, employment – you name it. It scores 99% on the Walkscore.com walkability scale. Penny Lane will enhance this. It’ll transform the site into a Palace Cinema complex designed by Buchan and provide a retail arcade between Puckle and Young Streets. It will integrate into the retail precinct via an active ground plane and into the residential area behind with two new vertical communities with interiors by Arkee. These are built around a shared courtyard and other communal spaces like a lounge, gym and large roof terrace with fire pits and a range of spaces. The whole development is integrated into the surrounding streets by a network of laneways. The intent is to raise the bar in terms of materiality and connectedness.

Urban.com.au: One of ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s latest developments Penny Lane has been designed with robust materials to ‘increase longevity’ and ‘minimise building maintenance’. What is an example of these robust materials and how will they stand the test of time?

Toby Lauchlan: Penny Lane is designed with longevity in front of mind. Robust, long-lasting materials including concrete will ensure the 10-storey building ages well and are low-maintenance and inexpensive to maintain over its entire lifespan. While concrete comes with high embodied energy it can also help reduce a building’s carbon footprint by making add-on elements like cladding unnecessary. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each project. Penny Lane prioritises ESD (Ecologically Sustainable Development) and achieves a 7.2-star NatHERS rating, so in this context, it works well. Extensive glazing maximises natural light and reduces the need for artificial light. Apartment interiors by Arkee use high-quality, natural materials including timber joinery, stone finishes and wool carpet.

ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s Robert Goodliffe and Toby Lauchlan discuss Penny Lane, future-proofed building design and share due diligence tips for buyers
Penny Lane building facade. Credit: FKD Studio
ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s Robert Goodliffe and Toby Lauchlan discuss Penny Lane, future-proofed building design and share due diligence tips for buyers
Penny Lane apartment exterior. Credit: FKD Studio

Urban.com.au: What design techniques have you employed within the Penny Lane development which make it low maintenance?

Toby Lauchlan: Penny Lane’s passive solar design features make it low maintenance and low impact. High-performance glazing in all 114 apartments reduces excessive summer heat gain and winter heat loss. Most west-, north- and east-facing sliding doors are shaded by balconies to reduce summer heat gain. The north-facing façade of the retail building will be retained and bricks from other buildings on the site will be reused. It will use sustainably sourced timber, low-VOC materials, paints and sealants, renewable energy (including PVs on the roof), energy-efficient lighting, water-efficient landscaping and rainwater harvesting for irrigation and toilet flushing.

Urban.com.au: How would you like to see Penny Lane look in 10 years from now? 

Toby Lauchlan: We hope it’ll be a much-loved part of Puckle Street and a driver for better connections between retail precincts and residential development in the area.

Urban.com.au: What do you think residents will love most about living at Penny Lane?

Toby Lauchlan: We think people will love the walkability of the location and the laneways connecting residents to the vibrancy of Puckle Street and the new cinema complex.

ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s Robert Goodliffe and Toby Lauchlan discuss Penny Lane, future-proofed building design and share due diligence tips for buyers
Penny Lane laneway. Credit: FKD Studio
ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s Robert Goodliffe and Toby Lauchlan discuss Penny Lane, future-proofed building design and share due diligence tips for buyers
Penny Lane's vibrant community precinct. Credit: FKD Studio
ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s Robert Goodliffe and Toby Lauchlan discuss Penny Lane, future-proofed building design and share due diligence tips for buyers
Penny Lane resident garden. Credit: FKD Studio

Urban.com.au: Which building materials do you most like incorporating into your designs?

Toby Lauchlan: We gravitate towards durable, natural, low maintenance materials that contribute to high energy performance and timeless design. But our material selection varies project to project because we also take cues from local context - materials, colours and forms we find in the surrounding environment and built form.

Urban.com.au: How can buyers ascertain whether the development they're interested in has been constructed using high-quality materials?

Toby Lauchlan: The best way is to understand a development in detail. Research the architect and builder (if a builder has been appointed). Look at their websites and visit some of their projects. Visit the development’s display suite and take a close look at marketing collateral, plans, models and visualisations for a good indication of internal and external materials proposed. Clarify what’s actually being specified, especially brands of appliances, tapware and materials, and touch and feel samples to make sure the quality you’re looking for is there. Do your homework and that’ll build your confidence in evaluating what’s on offer.

Urban.com.au: Given your experience in architecture, property development and construction, how do you believe all three fields can work cohesively to produce structurally sound, well-integrated precincts of the future?

Toby Lauchlan: I’ve worked in all three fields. Things work best when you all understand one another and prioritise quality. That means a developer focussed on providing a high-quality outcome for the end-user, a builder focused on high-quality construction, and a designer focussed on longevity – a design that stands the test of time and spaces that connect, work well together and have a look and feel that won’t date.

 

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Olivia Round

Olivia Round

Olivia Round is the Features Editor of urban.com.au. Olivia specialises in news reporting, in-depth editorial content and video + podcast interviews with industry experts.

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ClarkeHopkinsClarke Penny Lane

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