Laneway Dwellings

NEWS FLASH –  The new draft Amendments to the @cityofsydney 2012 DCP re #SecondaryDwellings are disappointing (to put it politely). Within the LGA there are 100s of lanes and 1,000s of houses, most with garages fronting these lanes. There is a housing crisis and the huge potential for 1,000s of new well designed, vibrant, studio dwellings to sit over these garages is now stifled. As well the opportunity to transform the lanes into vibrant mixed use precincts is lost. So images 1, 2, 3, by MWA Image 8 by @tzarchitecture and 9 by @raffaellorosselli are not allowed and instead the city wants dwellings as shown in 5, 6 + 7. These are the slums of the future now being built under these controls.

These controls only allow;
– a 1 storey structure with an attic above.
– The roof facing the lane is to be a symmetrical gable with a minimum 35 to maximum 40 degree roof pitch.
– The dwelling should also be designed to be compatible with adjacent buildings facing the lane.
 See image 4 for the controls.


This so called dormer window is as big as it can be because the attic roof form has taken away so much internal volume. As a result it’s glass line comes down close to the floor and privacy is reliant on an almost permanently drawn curtain. The juxtaposition of a small domestic space adjacent to a public laneway, needs more layers and filters to enable a more controlled and defensive privacy and engagement. ie a higher window sill, adjustable louvres, an external blind…..

This dormer, does not come down so low, but again it has a very poor engagement with the lane, permanently behind fixed louvres. AND again at the back there is more bulk and as well overlooking thanks to the windows placed there.

This studio has been around for about 5 years and we have never seen the louvres move. Imprisoned behind them, the occupant has no engagement with the lane. Curtains again almost permanently drawn. Again the dormer over reaches down near the floor, to try to claw back space removed by the attic roof form. AND even worse, the bulk is then at the back, overshadowing and dominating the 3 adjacent backyards.


The three recently approved and built studios shown above clearly demonstrate that the council controls produce the opposite of what their planning statements aspire to.

The single page of controls, above is dominated by the ‘AtticRoof Form’. Nothing about the depth of studio, to minimise bulk and overshadowing. Lots of motherhood statements. Note the line about “well designed and integrated dormer windows and then look again at the 3  built examples.   And then the line about being compatible with adjacent buildings in the lane!? Even when they are so poorly conceived and approved?


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