Silverbrooke is a recently completed 150 unit, medium density housing project in Whitby, with a further stage under construction and due to be completed towards the end of 2024. The area around Navigation Drive has slowly been developing over the last 10-15 years and has come into its own now that Transmission Gully is complete and access to the valley is directly off the new state highway.
Designed by Local Collective, Envelope Engineering, and Jerram Tocker, Silverbrooke demonstrates how to achieve a high yield, quality development on typically sized suburban sites. Using a medium density housing model offering quality environments, the subdivision focusses on amenity and the facilitation of community, rather than individual compartmentalised sites. As a result the neighbourhood has access to wetlands, walkways, a native forest and grassed common areas. These assets have the added benefit of greening the street and providing a sense of establishment, in part due to the developer working on a restoration and planting plan since Silverborooke’s inception in early 2019.
Tim Campbell of Connemara is proud of what they have achieved: “The Silverbrooke masterplan has been somewhat different in its approach in that the masterplan was not just about creating the vision splendid or the beauty pageant drawing. It was about putting in place a process and a methodology that would enable the team to achieve design excellence and community creation over a period of time.”
The houses themselves use a simple but elegant building form, augmented by clever landscaping, to give a sense of continuity and community. The front entries include a private courtyard off the main living area, bounded by low planting and fencing to ensure there are ‘eyes on the street’. Being slightly elevated, the front gardens provide privacy and a green front entry to each property. Internally the architects have included small but delightful moves, such as reading nooks and window seats, with the developer making small adjustments along the way to utilise every inch of space for storage to ensure the delivery of a high quality and practical product. As a whole the townhouses are visually appealing, providing variety in the streetscape while still maintaining a visual coherence with their neighbour.
As developers seek to fill the housing need it is important to celebrate exemplars like Silverbrooke, where consideration of the wants and needs of the community are prioritised, and where good places are created as a result.