|Application||External Cladding/Internal Padding|
|Product||Euro Selekta Clad|
Surrounded by contemporary apartments in the highly competitive Canberra real estate market posed two challenges for architect Fred Kasparek in designing the new 78-unit Zest Apartments: affordability and differentiation. Situated in Franklin on an arterial road that links the Gungahlin shopping and community centre with central Canberra, the 3-storey development was aimed at first and second home buyers, and was developed by Meteora Developments.
Read how the architect met the brief, including his solution for balancing the popularity of timber with the requirement to keep maintenance costs to a minimum.
Finding the balance: appealing looks vs affordability
Fred Kasparek describes Flemington Road as a “corridor of apartments”, most of which are only five to seven years old. The Zest development comprised 39 one-bedroom units, 35 two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom units, plus a basement carpark. “Creating a product that looked highly appealing but stayed affordable was a top priority in such a difficult market,” Fred said.
The finishing touch to a blank canvas
The resulting building is highly articulated, with entry and stairwells facing the street. The building’s exterior was rendered brickwork and lightweight cladding. This provided a blank canvas, but Kasparek knew he had to add something extra to attract potential buyers. “The building needed to be softened with a tactile dimension that would create warmth,” Kasparek said. “Timber creates this effect, but it’s not popular with buyers when it weathers and adds to the body corporate maintenance bill. So I looked for a composite product that was convincing yet practical.”
An alternative to timber feature panels
Kasparek turned to Urbanline’s Euro Clad composite cladding which has a timber-embossed surface. Having used the product before, he knew it would deliver on good looks and durability. Feature panels were added to the blades of the building, which also ensured there were no harsh blank walls. In Kasparek’s words, the cladding “made the building stand out from the rest, with many people commenting on how attractive it was.” Of course, the proof lies in market acceptance, and Zest achieved strong sales.