Karratha Vernacular Design Principles

Design Feature
Type of Project
Structure Plan, Placemaking
State
Western Australia
Location
Regional

The Karratha Vernacular Design Principles report informs developers of the City of Karratha’s vision. The City, LandCorp and their partners created a new paradigm for development in Karratha. The City acknowledged that current development practices were not securing its transformation from a resource town into a City of the North. The report sets a new benchmark for “beauty” and “excellence” in design, built form and service delivery.

Working to improve public spaces

The purpose of the report is to outline a set of design principles that developers will be required to address when proposing new developments within the city centre and residential estates. Whilst providing a focus on the ‘city core’ and ‘Mulataga’ developments, the Karratha Vernacular Design Principles guide all developments within Karratha. It is an opportunity to create a standard of design for the built form and public realm not previously seen within arid climates in Australia.

The Karratha Vernacular Design Principles report does not provide an exhaustive list of design principles, however it does seek to inform developers of important built form and public realm elements. Currently, the open space network in Karratha does not prioritise the needs of people who wish to enjoy the outdoors. The previous planning of Karratha has led to a traffic-dominated environment, which makes travel by car a necessity. The wide road reserves and expansive car parks, limited tree cover and low building masses create a harsh environment, which is not conducive to walking or relaxing outdoors.

A number of the Karratha Vernacular Design Principles reflect the design features of a healthy active community.

The report sets a new benchmark for “beauty” and “excellence” in design, built form and service delivery.
The report sets a new benchmark for “beauty” and “excellence” in design, built form and service delivery.

Public open space should:

  • Establish areas to allow informal play that have extensive shade and meeting points designed for parents and children.
  • Provide lighting as a key element to draw people into safe pocket parks and larger recreation spaces.
  • Look to integrate the local landscape vernacular, including native planting and xeriscape principles.
It is an opportunity to create a standard of design for the built form and public realm not previously seen within arid climates in Australia.
It is an opportunity to create a standard of design for the built form and public realm not previously seen within arid climates in Australia.

A Town centre should:

  • Seek to incorporate a sequence of public realm spaces, which are conducive to walking and socialising and link with the street network to create an interesting cityscape.
  • Ensure community and roof gardens can be included, especially in the city centre mixed-use developments.
  • Provide elevated spaces on rooftops that commercial developments and private residences can use.

Building design should:

  • Acknowledge the comfortable winter temperatures and help to moderate hot summer temperatures.
  • Have an area open to an outer zone and a sealed inner zone to assist efficient cooling during summer and passive ventilation during winter.
  • Provide evaporative cooling such as external misters, which have a beneficial psychological cooling effect.

Housing diversity should:

  • Be supported by improved access to services and recreation facilities.
  • Be encouraged by ensuring alternative housing solutions, such as dwellings designed for shared housing and smaller dwellings and lots which will decrease living costs for residents within Karratha.
  • Be narrow and promote slow vehicle movements in the town centre.
  • Accommodate a nature promenade link to establish green links to the west of Sharpe Avenue and the creek lines which cut through residential areas providing green infrastructure routes.
  • Ensure the nature promenade will combine play areas, storm water retention and infiltration, artworks, ground cover and tree planting, pathways and cycle routes

Sense of place should:

  • Acknowledge the importance of embracing local community participation to develop public spaces so they truly become spaces for the people of Karratha.
  • Recognise and celebrate local Aboriginal heritage and culture to solidify Karratha’s sense of place.
  • Include community gardens by working with the locals to create a range of public open spaces, which reflect their specific needs, especially the local Indigenous community. 

Project Team 

  • HASSELL
  • LandCorp
  • City of Karratha

Project Cost 

Unknown 

The report does not provide an exhaustive list of design principles, however it does seek to inform developers of important built form and public realm elements.
The report does not provide an exhaustive list of design principles, however it does seek to inform developers of important built form and public realm elements.

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