Balconies Print

​​​​​​​​​​Design Checklist

  1. Balconies and terraces are functional spaces that provide sufficient privacy for occupants
  2. The safety and liveliness of the street is increased through casual overlooking and surveillance from balconies and terraces
  3. Balconies contribute positively to the building facade


Private balconies and terraces should be an essential consideration when designing for residential units. They should attach directly to main indoor living areas, effectively creating an extension of these spaces. They may take the form of a recessed balcony, a cantilevered or semi-cantilevered balcony, a terrace, or a ground level deck. When well designed, balconies and terraces become important architectural elements, contributing positively to the form and articulation of a building.​

Better Design Practice

Provide private outdoor spaces as a rule.

Provide private outdoor space for each residential unit. Ensure that these spaces provide sufficient privacy for users and that their size and design allow them to act as extensions of indoor living areas.​

Design balconies to allow views and casual surveillance of the street or public open spaces while ensuring safety and visual privacy for occupants.

Balcony users should have a degree of visible when viewed from the public realm. This helps to create a sense of activity and interest at street level and contributes to safety through passive surveillance. At the same time balconies need to provide users with adequate levels of privacy. To achieve this balance consider:
  • Detailing balustrades to address invasive sightlines from the street, public domain or adjacent developments (e.g. completely transparent balustrades do not provide privacy for the balcony or the apartment’s interior, especially at night).
  • Designing balustrades to partially screen someone who is seated on the balcony from the public or similarly screen the public from viewing clothes drying, bicycle storage areas, or air conditioning units.

​Integrate balconies into the overall design of the building.

Balconies should be designed as an integral part of the overall building. Address the role of services when designing balconies by:
  • coordinating and integrating building services such as drainage pipes with overall facade and balcony design (visible balcony downpipes detract from the building’s appearance).
  • including a hose tap and gas supply bayonet on primary balconies or terraces.

Increase the usefulness of balconies by designing and detailing them in response to the local climate and context.

Examples include:

  • Locating balconies on north, east or west facing facades to provide solar access.
  • Utilising sun screens, pergolas, shutters and operable walls to control sunlight and wind.

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