ellivo (Studio Journal)

30.05.2018 (Research)

Tell Us What You Really Think

It is always fascinating what you can learn about design by just talking to people, face to face.

We have an ongoing desire to find out more about the way our buildings are used and understood. Our latest bit of research has been a “Meet the Architect“ session with the residents of Greystone by Mirvac, a townhouse project in Everton Park.

Over a few drinks around the pool, we were able to get an insight into how our projects are perceived, to bring this information full circle back into our current projects.

The group consisted of over a dozen residents plus representatives from Ellivo and Mirvac. We covered a range of subjects, to better understand the owner’s decision making, from the pre-purchase stage, to now. Some of the key learnings are worth sharing.

Firstly, the old adage of the “the devil is in the detail” rings really true with owner occupiers. Many of the concerns of residents were minor, but potentially resolvable at the design stage. These include attention to electrical layouts, door swings and services placement. On the positive side, the attention given to the feature stairs, timber screens and acoustic separation between townhouses were all commended. As the group were predominantly owner occupiers who purchased for the longer term, they placed a high value on “getting it right”.

The surprising feedback from the group was the broad acceptance of the three storey and tandem car configuration that most had purchased. This typology is often seen as necessary to deal with steep sites, but not the preference for many of our clients. The residents loved the cross ventilation that the design allows and felt that the stairs kept them fit and active. The long tandem allowed space gave the ability to tailor the space for their own needs. Some have the space set up as workshops, others as play areas for grandkids.

Finally, the continuity of “delivering on the promise” from the sales display, marketing material all the way through to the final handover was an important factor for the purchasers. The group really understood what was on offer in the off-plan purchaser stage. They all had a good grasp of the plans, the estate layout, and detail of the finishes. They were highly complimentary as to the continuity from the sales process all the way through from purchase phase to moving in and the information flow of keeping the purchasers up to date with construction progress.

Many of the purchasers saw the decision to purchase a townhouse “at this stage of life“ as preferable to apartment living. The idea of have others living above and below was “too much” compared with living side by side. The sense of community was considered higher in a townhouse configuration, and you can get to know your neighbours.

Overall, it was very a positive experience for us as architects to hear first-hand what it is like to live in the buildings we design and we believe the residents of Greystone enjoyed having the opportunity to provide feedback.  We always loving talking about design and we aim to make sure good design is always considered for every aspect of a project.