Design for topography Print

​​​​​Design Che​​​​c​​​​​​​klist​​

  1. The design proposal maintains the important natural features of the site
  2. The site design responds to the landform, minimising the extent of earthworks
  3. Retaining elements are carefully integrated as a part of the design​
  4. The terraced house works with the existing topography to maximise views, privacy and other site opportunities​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​It is important that any terraced hou​​sing development makes the most of the existing features of the site including topography, views, ​​mature planting, solar access and shelter from wind. It is important to decide how the terraced form aligns with the slope (i.e. along contours or across them), as this can determine the visual impact of the scheme.

Parking, access and servicing should be considered at the same time as the site and building designs. 

Laying out the site should not be done independently of designing the buildings. Before subdividing, it is best practice to experiment with site layout and building placement, even if it is only in sketch form.

Better Design Practice

Any changes to sloping land should appear as natural as possible. This could include: 
  • using stepped and angled retaining wherever possible to reduce the visual impact and create areas for landscaping 
  • including space for planting and vegetation to soften the view of large scale engineering structures 
  • designing stormwater ponds like natural bodies of water, not artificial ‘boxes’ with straight sides.
Balance cuts into the land with fill, instead of only using cuts or fill alone.  Use parts of the slope for the open spaces associated with the development, incorporating it as terracing, and create flat outdoor spaces around the buildings.  Battering (creating a consistent slope) across the whole site generally creates unusable spaces.  Utilise the slope for undercroft (undercut) or basement car parking wherever possible.

Incorporate retaining as part of the overall building or as part of the landscape proposal. This can enhance the value of the project. Design the building for ‘up-slope’ and ‘down-slope’ conditions relative to the street by: 

  • balancing car parking and access with the creation of a strong building façade along the street. 
  • ​minimising the setback for up-slope conditions to achieve a close relationship between the building and street edge. The setback of the building from the back edge of the footpath determines the extent of earthworks, the position of entry level building platform and the length or cut of any vehicular drive.
  • aiming for level access to the front door wherever possible. However, where terraces are close to the road, setting terraced housing slightly higher can assist with privacy. Locate terraced houses around sunny amenity spaces, with views into amenity spaces and towards the street. Capture special views or outlook.

Rules of Thumb

Minimise the use of highly visible large retaining walls. If they are over a metre, they should be stepped and landscaped

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