Tessellar Blog

Friday, January 13, 2017

A 5-Storey High-Density Honeycomb Apartment

The ground level is slightly lowered to make it into a lower-ground floor ground floor and is fully utilized to provide car parking. If laid out efficiently, the number of car parks provided will be able to support up to 60 units of apartments per acre. The upper-ground floor is slightly elevated and is connected to the main street with a ramp.

On the upper-ground floor are single-storey apartments arranged around double storey courtyards.  Surau, Dewan and some shops can also be provided on this floor. Two floors above this, on the second floor are another set of courtyards which are partially open to the sky. Here, the courtyards provide access to duplex apartment units in the typical high-rise Honeycomb layout.

The Honeycomb layout proposed provides a private front-yard to each unit well as a communal garden shared by groups of 8 duplex apartments on the 2nd floor and 4 single-storey apartment units on the upper-ground floor. The typical size of the duplex front-yard is 8sm. The landscaped communal courtyard area that serve 8 duplex apartments are 4m x 12m. On the upper ground the typical front-yard is 12sm and the communal courtyard is 5m x 8m.

The apartments are like terrace houses where residents have a front garden facing a car-free “street” in the air where children can play. In trying to convince purchasers who prefer conventional landed property which are too expensive, playing on this imagery can help make apartment living more desirable.

The efficient use of the lower ground floor makes it possible to design up to 60 units on each acre of development land using only a 5-storey building type. In this way, the benefit of high-density is achieved without recourse to going above 5-stories and having multi-storey car parks with all the extra costs that these features entail. This results in a lower cost structure that combines both low construction and land cost.

We can further add value to the cost-efficient 5-storey walk-up flat by providing lifts and adopting the Honeycomb layout. They wouldn’t be too expensive: they serve only five floors and unlike lifts that serve taller buildings, need not be fire-rated; downtime for maintenance is acceptable without having a second back-up lift next to it. In the 5-storey Honeycomb Apartment Layout, the lifts need only stop on the lower-ground floor (car park), upper-ground floor and 2nd floor only.

There is a mix of duplex and single-storey apartments of differing sizes in this layout. It was designed specifically to meet the low-cost, low-medium cost and affordable categories of housing that is mandatory in the State of Johor with smaller single storey units in less desirable locations assigned as low-cost and low-medium cost houses. In this way, the building of separate buildings for each housing category is unnecessary. Shops are also provided to make this mixed income community even more conducive to the development of a healthy community.

This high-density low-rise apartment block is different from conventional slab blocks in that it is much wider. This partially explains how sufficient units can be provided on each floor to achieve 60 units per acre. The other important reason for it is the efficient layout of car parks on the ground floor to achieve the sufficient number of car parks.

This design would be suitable for infill sites in most suburbs where there are already terrace houses built or going to be built, but which have become too expensive for most people.

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