How Hewitt Apartments by Cedar Woods was designed: Five minutes with DKO's Koos de Keijizer

The apartments have been designed with a simple floor plan, affording buyers with the flexibility to choose from alternative layouts.

How Hewitt Apartments by Cedar Woods was designed: Five minutes with DKO's Koos de Keijizer
The exterior of Hewitt Apartments. Image supplied.

Since being founded over two decades ago, the award-winning architecture firm, DKO, is now one of the major architecture firms across the Asia Pacific Region, with six offices across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

It was co-founded by Koos de Keijzer, a former director at Mirvac Design for over a decade, and architect Zvonko Orsanic. 

We recently sat down with de Keijizer, DKO's long standing principal, to discuss the design and architecture of Hewitt Apartments by the Melbourne developer Cedar Woods, in the heart of their Williams Landing precinct.

With a highly regarded reputation for developing bespoke residences in community developments across Australia, DKO was inspired by the historical elements of the RAF Base at Williams Landing and the existing characters and history of the area. This has been demonstrated through diagonal elements and patterns recalling the dynamism of flight.

"There is so much heritage and existing fabric, which we’ve drawn inspiration from to create a language and to design a building that is authentic and proud of its local history," Koos de Keijizer said.

"We were keen to interpret some of the dynamics of an airport, the landing, runway, lighting, and just some of the historical elements of what that RAF Base was.

"It was important that the building has a strong massing, as the site of Hewitt Apartments holds a key position on a corner. Therefore, there needed to be a strong identity for the precinct. The open plan design was inspired by the modern Australian lifestyle, with focus around the social dining and kitchen zones.

"Having spent a lot of time in apartments myself, you get to understand what is important - like having elements of privacy and space. When designing for apartment living, you must create a sense of flexibility, knowing that not everyone wants to live in the same way."

The apartments have been designed with a simple floor plan, affording buyers with the flexibility to choose from alternative layouts.

"Maximising space, we wanted to allow privacy and room for modern needs," de Keijizer said.

"With many of us working from home now, we’ve made sure to thoughtfully incorporate study zones, and have positioned bedrooms on either side of the shared spaces for privacy. Community focus is key in our designs. Whether it’s a young family who will appreciate the generous living areas and balconies, professionals who will focus on work privacy, or right sizers who are looking for an easy to maintain apartment with a spare room."

Balconies are a key feature in the Hewitt Apartments design with the architects featuring generous, enclosed balconies to create private nooks where people can enjoy private outdoor seating, or create a green space filled with plants.

"We always aim to house the balconies as an extension of the apartment itself, never as an addition hanging off the buildings edge, as external balconies aren’t as functional and readily used by residents. Incorporating these elements of liveability is important to us; Many people choose to live in apartments and require spaces they can feel at home. Residents deserve having flexibility in how they choose to live and sell to the Australian way of living."

The two colour palettes on offer for the residences were influenced by the historical colours used on aircrafts that would have been at the RAF Base. It is a modern take, with neutral greys and dark metallics offset by a shimmering bronze finish on the screening elements.

"We wanted to give people a choice. Some people prefer a darker scheme while others prefer lighter, so we’ve made sure to include both," de Keijizer added.

DKO maximised functionality and versatility without compromising on style or design, with the architects saying functionality, flexibility and style were the core elements to a good design. 

"During the design process, we placed a lot of rigor in the planning and layouts of Hewitt Apartments because they needed to be good places to live - again placing focus on living spaces people can enjoy with the requirements necessary for a comfortable life. At the same time, we also wanted to ensure that the dwellings have beautiful space that would last and stand the test of time as the Williams Landing community continues to expand and grow."

The Hewitt Apartments fit into the community of Williams Landing, a $1.5 billion masterplan which began back in 2008 in the gateway between the City of Wyndham and Melbourne. 

"We spent a lot of time looking at the streetscape of Williams Landing. With local amenity in easy walking distance, it was integral we created a space that reflected the growing community and offered a beautiful presence for residents and visitors."

"We’ve designed the outside of Hewitt Apartments for social connection, to increase interaction in the community – a place where residents can feel proud to live, and where you can easily pass a neighbour and have a conversation."

"The buildings have been raised higher, so the ground floor is about a metre above the ground, bringing the streetscape and surrounding area into focus.

"We want people to notice the town, and experience Hewitt Apartments as an integrated community, in the heart of the growing family-friendly suburb of Williams Landing."

Alison Warters

Alison Warters

Alison Warters is a property journalist for Urban, based in Sydney. Alison is especially interested in the evolution of the New Build/Development space, when it comes to design innovation and sustainability.

Hewitt Apartments DKO Architecture Architectural Design Williams Landing

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