Wind Tunnels

Wind Tunnel.jpgWe recently raised with Council the issue of the wind tunnel effects within the CBD and particularly in Victoria Avenue near the Pacific Highway.

Council advised that they regulalry require  a development proponent tolodge a wind assessment report and that often additional design elements are required to be incorporated in conditions of consent for the development was acceptable. This is not to say that wind impacts would not be experienced but rather that sufficient attempts are made to minimise such impacts whilst still enabling multi-storey development.

The Chatswood CBD Planning and Urban Design Strategy was adopted by Council in June last year. The vision for the CBD includes achieving great public places, urban design quality and greening the centre. Guiding concepts include (amongst other things):

  • Slender towers
  • Tower separation
  • Design excellence
  • Urban approaches to podia and greening

The greening of the city, including street tree planting and other landscape measures together with podiums, street awnings and slender, separated towers all assist in controlling local wind conditions. Design excellence will be a requirement for all multi-storey development which will also have regard to public domain amenity including wind conditions. Wind studies are required for major multi-storey development within the CBD.

The suggestion of a temporary Chatswood Wind Measurement Station has been forwarded to Council’s Environmental Health section for consideration as has the suggestion that developers install a recording anemometer in their buildings.

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Unhealthy high rise

unhealthy high riseLeading Sydney architects and urban designers believe that many (if not most) of Sydney’s high rise apartment buildings are inherently unhealthy.They are calling for a rethink on the design of residential apartments.

Existing buildings with long, dark corridors, windy balconies and little cross-ventilation are damaging people’s health and well-being.

The buildings are described themselves as being ‘sick’.

There is a call for buildings to support “gentle urbanism” which rejects the bulky footprint design for 10 to 30 storey towers in favour of a slim footprint building with generous setbacks and deep rooted landscaping.

The enlightened’ architects are concerned that where towers rise too far above the street, whilst people may gain views they can no longer step out and talk to friends on the street. However, restricting the footprint of buildings, within the context of planning laws, results in the delivery of buildings needing to be far higher.

In reality, the pronouncements of these reformist architects could be termed ‘a cry into the sky’. Development economics, legal entitlement and government strategies that demand the housing of an increasing population cannot be achieved without a massive increase in the footprint of the city resulting in unsustainable need for costly infrastructure and the loss of productive land on the outskirts of the city. Fostering ‘urban sprawl’ generates as many problems as the architects are dreaming of solving.

Source: Architects say towers a health risk by Linda Morris, SMH, 1 October 1918 p.4