Crows Nest Apartments


Atchison Street Apartments

Development Application Approved July 2018

86 Dunning Avenue Pty Ltd

39 residential apartments
Car parking for 53 cars

84-90 Atchison Street
Crows Nest, NSW Australia


Principal in Charge:
Richard Huxley

Design Principal:
Richard Huxley

Project Team Leader:
Siem Salem

Project Team:
Richard Huxley
Richard Wilkinson
James Farquharson
Siem Salem
Kudzanayi Ganga
Sheng Qiang

Crows Nest is a perfect north shore neighbourhood; low in scale and high in activity. It is close to the city, the harbour, freeways north and west of Neutral Bay and Mosman. The area is known for its prominent tree lined streets, mixed use buildings of diverse appearance and of course the distinct Crows Nest house and semi-detached house with its low scale red pitched roofs.

As a place, Crows Nest is unique and stands in stark contrast to the larger scale built environment of St Leonards rising up to its west. It is also a very desirable place to live, and with the new metro station proposed to be open in 2024, it will become more and more popular.

A significant factor that influenced the design of the Atchison Street apartments was our passion to express the building as a symbol of life on the North Shore of Sydney. The North Shore is less urban and more relaxed than other places in Sydney. It’s where people never feel far away from the beach, bushland and the myriad of waterways. Our inspiration for the design was the classic Halvorsen Cruiser, a recreational timber boat that has cruised the waterways, bays and inlets of the North Shore for a century. Just like the Halvorsen we sought to create a building which was of the highest quality, showcasing; horizontal, sleek, curved, practical and luxurious design elements.

We designed the building to allow the residents to experience and enjoy life better and at the same time, connect them to nature. The building’s footprint resembles a four leaf clover or a four-prop boat propeller and this design strategy ensures a majority of corner apartments with the best amenity in terms of light, air and outlook. We designed the apartments to have extra space and a sense of generosity with an orientation towards family use. The building was designed to achieve high environmental outcomes combining light filled spaces, a large extent of landscaping and long sweeping timber clad horizontal lines. In all of our design aspirations we hoped that the building would form a positive connection and contribution to the place and establish a new benchmark in low rise apartment building typology.


The 1528m² site is located on Atchison Street, Crows Nest and is part of the St Leonards Town Centre Precinct, approximately 7 minutes’ walk from St Leonards Train Station and 2 minutes’ walk from Crows Nest Plaza shopping precinct and restaurant precincts and on the boundary edge to the Crows Nest Town Centre. The site is on a corner location bounded to the South by Atchison Street, to the North by Atchison Lane, to the East by Hume Lane and shares one boundary with a neighbour to the West. The site is part of a focus area of renewal by North Sydney Council (NSC).
Key features of the local context that encourage the site to suitably accommodate an apartment building of high quality architectural character include:

• Corner block location open on 3 sides;
• Location on boundary between key areas identified by NSC St Leonards Town Centre and Crows Nest Town Centre.

The site is currently used as a local grocer and has been in operation for many years.The site has cross falls in both the East-West and North-South direction of circa 1 meter. There is a storm-water pipe running through the South-East corner of the site and no easement. There is a 16m height limit on the site.

Our architectural brief was to create an optimal residential development on the site that integrated a substantial North-South oriented communal open space and maximised usable landscape on the site and create a benchmark for apartment and environmental design and innovation. The building setbacks on Ground Level range from circa 4m-10m to give a generous landscape buffer and planting to the street scape. This planting enlivens the street scape, allows for foot path expansion in the future and creates a generous corner condition.

The car-park entry is located on Hume Lane to minimise impact to the residential developments on Atchison Lane and the car-park ramp is integrated into the building form to minimise disruption to pedestrians and the impact on Hume Lane. The new development proposes high quality architectural design, materials and curved form to create a visually interesting and sympathetic corner statement. The architectural details, skin and setback of the top level maximise privacy and breakdown the form of the building. The new development will contribute to the identity of the area by creating a visual landmark and encourage high quality residential developments in the area.
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