Studio GL | Portfolio Categories Urban Design
archive,paged,tax-portfolio_category,term-urban-design,term-3,paged-3,vcwb,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,select-theme-ver-3.2.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-,vc_responsive


Medium Density Ideas Competition

Studio GL developed an integrated medium density housing typology and neighbourhood master plan for the Density and Diversity Done Well ideas competition run by the Queensland Government in 2017. The competition explored the ‘missing middle’ of housing choice in Australia, between apartments and detached dwellings, and was looking for new housing types to meet Queensland’s community, environmental and urban challenges.

Our scheme proposed a finer grain of new public laneways through an existing suburban block, which enabled a more accessible and walkable urban structure to support increased density. The aim was to encourage walking, creating increased opportunity for people to meet informally, build social connections and support local services. The affordable housing module provided in-built potential for expansion, adaptation and change of use and living spaces on the upper levels responded to the climate, maximising natural ventilation through high ceilings and capturing local breezes. The small building footprint allowed increased deep soil zones supporting mature trees and vegetation, which provided privacy screening, increased amenity and reduced the heat island effect.


Client: Queensland Government 


Project date: 2017


Services: Strategic Thinking & Planning, Residential Design, Research


Similar Projects: Medium Density Study, Medium Density Housing Code Analysis


Medium Density Study

Studio GL prepared an in-depth study for Shoalhaven Council investigating ways to ensure that future medium density built form integrates well within the existing neighbourhood character of Nowra and is supported by smart local planning and development controls.

The project involved extensive case study research, with a focus on high-quality built typologies and designs that are making a positive contribution to their local neighbourhood. Local controls were also identified which helped to facilitate this positive outcome. To ensure the controls reflected the local character, this study was also supported by photographic studies of elements that contribute to ‘character’, spatial mapping of the local area and architectural infill typology testing. By comparing legislation across various councils and at a detailed level, we were able to develop a suite of the most effective LEP and DCP controls.

This suite of controls was tailored to local conditions and refined during a series

of workshops with Council staff, community members, landowners and local developers. Council adopted the study in July 2018 and is currently preparing a Planning Proposal and a revised DCP based on the recommendations.

Client: Shoalhaven City Council


Date: 2016-18


Services: Strategic Thinking & Planning, Residential Design, Research


Similar Projects: Medium Density Ideas Competition, Medium Density Housing Code Analysis

Nowra Riverfront Precinct

Studio GL have been asked to explore a strategic direction for the development of the Nowra Riverfront as an entertainment and leisure precinct. The area is in a prominent gateway location with high amenity provided by the river and natural surrounds and provides a significant opportunity to shape the character of Nowra into the future and strengthen the town’s role as the civic, community, tourism and recreational hub for the region. NSW Road and Maritime Services (RMS) is currently proposing a second river crossing (a new bridge) west of the existing Shoalhaven Bridge, which will have a significant impact on the precinct.

Studio GL have been reviewing previous studies and will provide a summary of the opportunities and constraints of the precinct and then develop planning and design principles specific to the Riverfront Precinct.


Client: Shoalhaven City Council


Project date: 2015 – 2018


Services: Town Centre Studies, Development Controls, Community Engagement, Strategic Planning


Similar Projects: Canada Bay Development Control PlanNowra CBD Development Controls

Urban Design Training

Bankstown City Council engaged Studio GL to design and run training workshops in urban design for Council staff. The design of the program included Council officers to ensure the program met their needs. Objectives included improving their understanding of urban design principles and the Apartment Design Guide (ADG) and increasing their ability to assess design responses and evaluate development applications.

Studio GL staff have experience in developing and running courses in urban design at a university level. The workshops were structured to gradually build confidence in the participants’ urban design knowledge and help the strategic planners and statutory planners visualise the outcomes of their decisions and the processes involved in creating specific design outcomes. The workshops built relationships and a shared understand across a diverse range of strategic planning, development assessment and detailed built environmental services within Council.


Client: Bankstown City Council


Project date: 2015


Services: Urban Design Training


Projects: Context and Neighbourhood Character Training

Canada Bay Development Control Plan

Following on from our work on the Five Dock Town Centre Urban Design Study, Studio GL were engaged to upgrade the development controls for the City of Canada Bay including an update of controls for the Mixed Use Areas and Neighbourhood Centres and preparation of revised development controls for the Five Dock Town Centre.

As part of this work we have undertaken site testing and detailed overshadowing modelling to identify the impact an increase in different FSRs would have on the character of the centre, and assessed different options for built form with regard to scale, number of storeys and street wall heights. We also prepared a fact sheet to help explain floor space ratio controls (FSR) to the community. Following exhibition of the DCP we have assisted Council in the review of community feedback generated by the public exhibition and created photomontage views to explain the impact of different height controls.


Client: Shoalhaven City Council


Project date: 2016


Services: Town Centre Studies, Development Controls, Strategic Thinking & Planning


Similar Projects: Nowra CBD Development ControlsNowra Riverfront Precinct

Context & Neighbourhood Character Training

Studio GL has been running interactive training workshops in association with PIA NSW and various local councils, on how to assess context and neighbourhood character. The course clarifies the concept of “neighbourhood character” and “desired future character” and provides a simple framework by which planners can identify and analyze these issues.

The workshops have helped participants to learn how to ‘read’ context and neighbourhood character and appreciate the elements that can be used to ‘respond’ to a specific context. It focuses on defining what context and neighbourhood character means, using photographs to show the elements that contribute to different neighbourhood characters. An interactive case study is also used to engage participants and encourage debate.


Client: PIA (NSW), City of Canada Bay, Shoalhaven City Council


Project date: 2017


Services: Urban Design Training


Projects: Urban Design Training

Nowra CBD Urban Design Development Controls

Studio GL were appointed to create development controls for the Nowra CBD to deliver a built form that fits within the planning context and the desired future character of this important regional centre on the South Coast of NSW. Studio GL staff members, Diana Griffiths and Brigitte Buchholz, obtained detailed knowledge of the centre from their previous work on the Nowra CBD Urban Design Master Plan (while at Arup) which won a PIA award for Excellence in Planning in 2011.

Through a series of workshops with Council staff, stakeholders and the local community we created development controls designed to ensure future development would improve the visual appearance and amenity of the CBD, by minimising possible impacts on significant view corridors and identifying opportunities for civic space and fine grain pedestrian connectivity. Council endorsed the development controls in April 2016 and these are expected to be incorporated into the DCP during the first half of the year.


Client: Shoalhaven City Council


Project date: 2014 – 2016


Services: Town Centre Studies, Development Controls, Community EngagementStrategic Thinking & Planning


Similar Projects: Canada Bay Development Control PlanNowra Riverfront Precinct

Five Dock Town Centre Urban Design Study

The Five Dock Town Centre provides a focus for the commercial, civic and community life of this part of Sydney’s Inner West. Studio GL staff, working with Arup and Hill PDA, provided the core urban design expertise on this comprehensive urban design study that aimed to improve the long term economic success of this centre.

We undertook a comprehensive review of exiting policy documents, created a detailed site analysis, facilitated engaging community and stakeholder consultation, developed options for public domain improvements and prepared the final strategic framework and detailed implementation plan. The project was awarded a NSW PIA Planning Excellence Award in 2014. The analysis and recommendations report can be viewed online at:


Client: City of Canada Bay


Project date: 2013


Services: Town Centre Studies, MasterplanningStrategic Thinking & Planning


Similar Projects: Canada Bay Development Control Plan, Nowra CBD Development ControlsNowra Riverfront Precinct