PLANNING PANNELS VICTORIA REVIEW OF MELBOURNE PLANNING SCHEME AMENDMENT C171 EXPERT WITNESS STATEMENT OF GEOFFREY FALK ON BEHALF OF THE CITY OF MELBOURNE 17 January 2012 2 Name and Address of Expert Geoffrey Falk 11A Macfarlan Street, South Yarra, Victoria, 3141 Qualifications Bachelor of Architecture, R.M.I.T. and University of Melbourne, 1972. Architects Registration Board of Victoria, Registration No. 2758 Experience and Expertise Geoffrey Falk is the Design Manager at FPPV Architecture. Geoff is highly experienced as a design architect specializing in the master planning and detailed design of major projects, urban spaces, multi-storey office buildings and large scale public facilities. His understanding of highly accessible public environments, of pedestrian infrastructure elements and key building services interfaces has been demonstrated throughout his career. Geoff has extensive experience in the areas of Commercial building, Educational, Institutional and Local and State Government buildings, and complex heritage issues. He is a strategic thinker with a sophisticated knowledge of architectural planning and contemporary aesthetics and practiced environmental design skills. He has also designed many environmentally sustainable buildings, from some of the first buildings with passive and active sustainability features in the nineteen seventies, through to the present time working for repeat and recommended clients, and influenced by his work on the first green office building in Melbourne; 60L for the Australian Conservation Foundation. Geoff has a great capacity to visualise and develop conceptual solutions for a wide array of project types. His visualizations are locally and internationally acknowledged as being highly successful in communicating to the public and stakeholder groups the key design criteria in planning and design. Scope of This Report During the preparation of the Planning Scheme Amendment C171 the City of Melbourne commissioned me to do a study of the effect of ‘Casing’ on the feasibility of podium level car parking. This work is outlined below. This statement restricts itself to the viability of ‘Casing’ above ground car parking space with active, usable and valuable floor area. Current Methods of Treating Upper Level Car Parking The norm at present is for upper level car parking to be treated as open deck car parking where a percentage of two, usually opposite, sides of the building are left open so as to allow the unassisted flow of air to remove exhaust fumes. Because of a long held perception, by many developers and building owners, that the view of cars is undesirable, various screening elements have been used which have been 3 regarded as a sculptural design element. The exposure of car storage floors to the street results in a total absence of active space facing the street. This results in dead, unchanging, facades with no natural, passive surveillance of the public domain. Examples of screened car parking floors in the Southbank area. What Form Can ‘Casing’ Take ‘Casing’ could take the form of residential, commercial or public use space which is a minimum of 5 to 8 metres deep. This depth of space provided at podium level will be sustainable space because natural light and ventilation can be designed into the fabric of the building and will be desirable habitable space. Advantages of ‘Casing’ Passive Surveillance of the Public Realm Active space in the first five levels of a development (including Ground Floor) will provide passive surveillance to the public realm providing a safer neighbourhood environment and therefore adding value to the development itself. In his book “Cities For People” Jan Gehl states that “contact between building and street is possible from the lowest five floors.” The inclusion of residential, commercial or public use spaces at these levels will ensure that the street has a safer feeling at all times. This example in Wellington, New Zealand demonstrates clearly the effect of having habitable space overlooking the public realm, the clear activation of the building façade and the consequent feeling of a link between built space and the space between the buildings. This contrasts markedly with examples where open deck parking or decorative screens covering them are exposed to the street. 4 Aesthetic Question Submissions have been made which claim that the ‘casing’ idea will take away design freedom and that car parking screens can be strong design elements. The introduction of active space facing streets in the first five levels of a building will introduce “life” and change into the building facade and will present many more design opportunities than those presented by the decorative treatment of car parking floors. Sustainability Two of the submissions state that the ‘Casing’ of the podium level car parking will reduce the opportunities to provide sustainable ventilation solutions. The following optional design studies show that there are a number of ways of providing sustainable ventilation to car parking podium floors. The three site sizes used were selected because they are typical of the development sites in the Southbank area. The large ones are full block depth and the smaller one is typical of blocks where a mid block laneway is present. 1. Large Site 90x68m This option uses the possibility of light and ventilation wells where the ventilation could be driven either mechanically or by ‘solar chimneys’ 5 2. Median Site 90x35m This option assumes that there would be a void space between the active space and the car parking to allow for natural ventilation of the parking space, floor levels of the parking floors and the active floors align and escape stairs can be provided in the void spaces. This method could also be used on the larger site above. 6 3. Small Site 45x60approx.m This option assumes open deck car parking space to the lane edge and a mechanically exhausted plenum duct behind the activated frontage. It would be possible to use solar chimneys to power the ventilation of the space. Declaration I have made all the inquiries that I believe are desirable and appropriate and that no matters of significance which I regard as relevant have to my knowledge been withheld from the Panel.
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