Campus style development: A new model for apartment living

Market Insights
8 years ago
2 minutes

Campus style developments present a great opportunity for the redevelopment of major renewal sites, writes Chris Hayton, Principal of leading urban design and architecture firm ROTHELOWMAN.

The high land value and small footprint of development sites in inner-urban areas generally present an economic case for single, high-rise, multi-residential buildings with various amenities stacked on each floor. 

However, a number of major brownfield urban renewal areas have recently claimed much larger sites, ones that require an entirely different approach to the design and development of new communities. 

When presented with a large site that is to be designed, built and marketed by a single architect and developer, the opportunity to practice a holistic mix of architecture, town planning and place making bestows a great opportunity for all involved. 

Typically for these sites, the right solution is a ‘campus’ style approach, whereby a group of buildings are designed as part of cohesive, identifiable community. 

ROTHELOWMAN has been behind a number of successful campus style developments to date, and we see this typology as a valuable new paradigm for apartment living. 


Marsden Park

Along with making full use of a larger development or urban renewal site, campus style developments respond to a consumer demand for a greater sense of community and connectivity in apartment buildings. 

When apartments and amenities such as communal outdoor areas, ground floor hospitality operators and retail tenancies are spread across a number of low to medium rise buildings as opposed to being stacked vertically, the result is a development with a genuine mix of uses and users. 

A strong example is the regeneration of an urban brownfield site is our Abbotsford project on the banks of Yarra River, now home to three complementary developments: Eden, Haven and Sanctuary.


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Working together with the developer, our team planned, designed and delivered a major campus style precinct with strong community spaces set as a priority. 

With a project of this size, we see good design as being equally as much about the space between buildings as the buildings themselves. 

Across the three adjacent buildings, we created a precinct comprising 500 apartments, public plazas with open Wi-Fi, shared workspaces, community garden, alfresco dining, swimming pool, gymnasium and multiple retail tenancies. 

The ground floor amenities such as hospitality outlets and public lobbies interact with the street and are enjoyed by the hundreds of development residents and other locals, blurring the line between the public and private domains. 

Looking at recent successful brownfield development sites in Coburg, East Bentleigh, West End and Marsden Park, we at ROTHELOWMAN are confident that campus style development can lead to the best possible outcomes for major renewal sites. 

We remain excited by future opportunities to design and develop new residential communities from the ground up.


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