A New Energy – The Waterfront at Central Coast Quarter by DKO Architecture and St Hilliers

Words by Millie Thwaites
Architecture by DKO
Photography by Pablo Veiga
Interior Design by DKO
Styling by Atelier Lab
Development by St Hilliers
Landscape Architect Turf Design Studio
Visualisation Laan Studios

An hour north of Sydney along New South Wales’s Central Coast is the waterside town of Gosford. Admired for its coastal feel and proximity to Sydney, it will soon be home to Central Coast Quarter – the area’s first residential and retail precinct, designed by DKO Architecture and developed by St Hilliers. This three-stage project is set to play a significant role in strengthening the area’s identity by creating a real sense of place inspired by the site’s enviable natural surrounds.

DKO and St Hilliers see this project as an opportunity to contribute to and enhance the existing fabric of the area. As such, a key focus of the masterplan was creating connection between the precinct, the city of Gosford and the wider landscape. The site’s prominent location in the city meant the architects felt a responsibility to “set the tone”, paying particular attention to the project’s relationship with the existing vernacular. “The feedback we got from the community was that they wanted it to feel slightly urban – ‘urban coastal’ if you like,” says Nick Byrne, Director at DKO. Resultingly, the site has been conceived as an extension of the city, with links and connections throughout, a consideration for views and sightlines, and a “diversity of base”. As Nick explains, “we wanted to break up the building mass into a series of structures, all with slightly different characters, while offering glimpses of the Rumbelara Reserve.” He adds, “it was important for us to create this urban experience between the buildings, as well as poetic architecture.”

In designing stage one of the project, The Waterfront, the architects looked to nature for inspiration, conceiving a building that feels exciting and new yet in harmony with its laid-back locale.

Designed by DKO Architecture and developed by St Hilliers, Central Coast Quarter is Gosford’s first residential and retail precinct.

In designing stage one of the project, The Waterfront, the architects looked to nature for inspiration, conceiving a building that feels exciting and new yet in harmony with its laid-back locale. As Xiaoran Ding, Senior Design Architect at DKO, says, “we wanted to design something really fluid and organic to reflect the calmness of Brisbane Water.” Also included in the masterplan is extensive landscaping by Turf Design Studio, which helps to settle the built form to its surrounds and once again demonstrates nature’s pivotal role in the design of the precinct. “At DKO, we see landscaping as an integral component to the design,” Nick notes. “It’s a very beautiful environment along the foreshore, and one of the key design principles was retaining this. There’s a lot of mature fig trees around the perimeter of the site, which we’re hoping to retain as well.” The plans also include sundecks, outdoor working areas, gardens and vast green spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy.

The Waterfront includes 136 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well as a collection of luxury apartments with unparalleled water views and house-like proportions. The interiors are contemporary and crisp, featuring a warm palette of blonde timber, creamy tones and lush fabrics, drawing on the coastal context with ease. As Justyn Ng, Development Director at St Hilliers says, “the main design outcome was to create spaces that were understated and timeless in design and provide buyers with the function and practicality necessary for smart everyday living.” Given this approach, St Hilliers elected to work with Fisher & Paykel in specifying appliances across the project.

Each apartment features an impressive selection including a 60cm, 7 Function Oven and Gas on Glass Cooktop with an Integrated Insert Rangehood, a 60cm Microwave Oven, Integrated Dishwasher and a Freestanding Refrigerator Freezer, which is generous in size and minimal in its design.

The first stage of the project is The Waterfront, the precinct’s residential offering, which includes 136 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well as luxury apartments, each with an extensive range of Fisher & Paykel appliances.

Each apartment features an impressive selection including a 60cm, 7 Function Oven and Gas on Glass Cooktop with an Integrated Insert Rangehood, a 60cm Microwave Oven, Integrated Dishwasher and a Freestanding Refrigerator Freezer, which is generous in size and minimal in its design. Meanwhile, each of the penthouses features a 90cm, 9 Function Self-cleaning Oven and Gas on Glass Cooktop with Integrated Insert Rangehood, a 60cm Combination Microwave Oven, as well as an Integrated French Door Refrigerator Freezer and Integrated Dishwasher.

The level of utility and function across both packages is unrivalled, and aesthetically the range is the perfect fit. “The black glass and stainless steel create a statement complementing the restrained and refined design,” says Emma Greenstein, Associate at DKO and the project’s Senior Interior Designer. As well as aesthetics, she believes the quality of Fisher & Paykel’s appliances brings a sizeable element of appeal. “The performance attributes not only bolster the overall product of the apartments but serve the ever-growing demand for smart appliances in an energetic capacity.”

Versatility is valuable when designing on this scale, and Justyn cites Fisher & Paykel’s diverse range and adaptable approach as invaluable assets.

The architecture of The Waterfront was designed to reflect the beauty of the surrounding natural environment, in particular, the nearby Brisbane Water and Rumbelara Reserve.

Versatility is valuable when designing on this scale, and Justyn cites Fisher & Paykel’s diverse range and adaptable approach as invaluable assets. “The design freedom gives us the flexibility to select the most functional appliances based on the needs of the different apartments,” he says. More specifically, the wall mounted ovens allowed the architects to create more storage in the two-bedroom apartments. As Emma explains, “the ability to stack, and seamless integration within the joinery, yields a smarter planning response to the overall design of the kitchen. By effect, spaces of a smaller footprint produce a higher standard of functionality and storage.” It’s clear that a sound working relationship between architect, developer and supplier has resulted in generous, well-considered homes that exceed the expectations of apartment living.

There is much to be drawn to here – architecturally designed apartments with a consideration for context and people, extensive landscaping and significant urban renewal created with the intention of benefiting the wider community. In time, Central Coast Quarter will play a role in revitalising the city of Gosford, championing the area’s most valuable assets and creating exciting attributes anew.