How the international architecture firm WOHA designed Perth's Forbes Residences in Applecross

Urban sat down with WOHA's, Richard Hassell, to discuss how they designed Forbes Residences in Applecross.

How the international architecture firm WOHA designed Perth's Forbes Residences in Applecross
The Jacaranda-laden entry way. Image supplied

For their most recent luxury project in Perth, the ASX-listed property developer, Mustera Property Group, went overseas to acquire a unique design.

They had the Singapore-based WOHA to handle the architecture for Forbes Residences, a boutique collection of just 34 three and four-bedroom residences in the popular riverside suburb of Applecross.

The internationally renowned, award- winning architectural firm has important connection to Perth, through lead project architect and co-founder, Richard Hassell, who graduated from the University of Western Australia in the late 1980s.

“We were approached by Mustera Property Group to explore the idea of a new mixed-use high-rise typology for Applecross, Perth," Hassell told Urban.

"They were aware of our projects in Singapore and wanted to see if our design strategies could be adapted to suit Perth’s climate and context.

"Western Australia has a beautiful climate and landscape and our client wanted to bring something different to the fairly homogenous market,” Hassell said. 

“This is why, together with MJA Studio, WOHA were commissioned to design a development that offers a better high-rise lifestyle, one that maintains the feel of the leafy suburbs with plenty of options for indoor/outdoor living.”

Inspired by Applecross, the ambition for Forbes was to create exceptional riverside homes for residents to enjoy all the area has to offer.

“The key aspect of the Forbes development is that it’s designed, not as a stand-alone urban object, but as a three-dimensional environment that contains liveable, generous homes, shared facilities, commercial spaces, community services within gardens, natural light and air.”

Presented as four organically shaped towers, connected via a series of sky gardens, fresh air and light weave throughout every level, creating naturally lit and ventilated lift lobbies.

Applecross offers a beautiful garden suburb environment on the peninsula, and it inspired the building form, which is expressed as four modernist “villas” on a romantic mountainous landscape.”

“This expression gave us the opportunity to create extensive 'hanging gardens' which drape the podium form and extend up the roof. These gardens preserve the garden suburb quality, create greater privacy, frame views, and enhance sociability through forming 'neighbourhoods' of 12 apartments each.”

The “mountain” is an inhabitable landscape from the gardens shared with the public on the ground and first-level, to the social areas for the commercial and residential spaces.

“The gardens are not just nice to look at but also perform meaningful environmental services that benefit the development site as well as the district. The extensive greenery reduces the heat island effect, noise, and dust, prevents glare, and provides a habitat for biodiversity.”

The rooftop space also provides additional gardens for the penthouses, increasing the green-plot ratio and providing a cool and pleasant “fifth façade”.

WOHA have been developing and evolving their design strategies for over three decades, building a range of prototypes over time which have influenced the design of the Forbes Residences.

“Our Parkroyal Collection Pickering project, with its hanging gardens and landscaped, topographical podium, Skyville @ Dawson with its sky village concept and communal sky terraces, or the Oasia Hotel Downtown with its lush green façade and green plot ratio of over 1000 per cent, are just a few of our previous projects where we also drew inspiration from.”

While the group have produced high-quality and innovative designs across the globe, fitting into the context of Perth was always going to be a challenge. As a city with few high-rise developments, and with the suburbs known for the idyllic tree-lined streets and single family properties, Forbes Residences deliver something new to the western coastline. 

“The challenge for this development was to come up with a high-rise design that harmonises and adds greater amenity along with its higher density to its low-rise neighbourhood.”

“To us, it’s always exciting to see our strategies come to life and being adapted in a different part of the world, with a different climate and cultural context. We are happy that we’re able to work with our talented local partners to realise this vision of Forbes Residences as a civic building that shares its assets with the community and enhances its environment, enriching the quality of life for all.”

Apartments in Forbes Residences - 10 Forbes Road, Applecross

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3 bedrooms from $1,600,000
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3 bedrooms from $2,950,000
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4 bedrooms from $2,050,000
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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.

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