The district of Belconnen, to the north-west of central Canberra, is largely suburban. Much recent residential development has focused on the town centre, close to the shore of the artificially created Lake Ginninderra, where detached, single-family homes are giving way to denser, larger-scale blocks with multiple units. While some of these are targeted to a monoculture of young professionals, Linq is designed for a more diverse community, with a mixture of single and two-storey apartments aimed at students, couples, young families and retirees. Conscious that development in the immediate neighbourhood is ongoing, our aim was to achieve a high density of homes on the site without sacrificing a community feel – or a connection to nature.
We view the project as a stepping-stone in the gentle transformation of the area, mitigating between glassy, higher-rise towers closer to the lake and the low-rise, wooded suburbs to the south. Underground parking is tucked below to make use of the level change and minimise excavation, topped with a green podium that links the two linear, nine-storey residential blocks. These are oriented north-south to optimise light, ventilation and privacy, and arranged to enclose the central garden, a generously planted base that helps integrate the building into the surrounding landscape. Above, the projecting concrete slabs between floors give shading, and contrast with areas of finely detailed brick cladding that break down the mass and give a domestic feel. The apartment interiors are designed to clearly delineate the space for different living functions while capturing daylight and opening up views to lake and bush.
Our focus on the residents’ quality of life starts with big ideas about visual connections to nature and the wider city and continues right through to the smaller details that make Linq feel like home. The common parts, for example, have a raw industrial quality that is nevertheless carefully detailed, with a broken brick relief to the walls and timber-lined stairs. The building is scaled throughout to be at one rather than at odds with its users and, despite being on a busy corner, offers sufficient retreat from the city without turning its back.