The Smart Apartment

And a Proposed Design for the National Information and Communications Technology Centre of Excellence

For the Bauhaus Serve City Sydney Trimester III, Wednesday 12 June 2002, in Sydney


  1. Introduction
  2. City Edge
  3. Wrong With iHome
  4. Home office design
  5. Design Project
  6. Smart Apartment Technology
  7. Design for NICTA
  8. Books
  9. Home Page

2. City Edge

City Edge Apartments

The physical aspect of the Smart Apartment is a one bedroom apartment at City Edge, O'Connor, Canberra.

Unfortunately the web site for City Edge has been deleted and only the text (no images) are available in the Internet Archive. The web site's marketing invoked a view of inner Sydney urban living:

It's on the edge of the city. On the edge of parklands. And next door to one of Canberra's bustling café precincts. It's City Edge - a brand new group of stylish residences, with a distinctly cosmopolitan air - right in the heart of O'Connor. Choose the convenience of a smart apartment, the extra space of a townhouse, or find that touch of Paddington in Canberra with the distinctive character of a terrace house. Whichever you choose, you'll enjoy a unique lifestyle, within easy reach of the Australian National University, city shopping and nightlife, and Canberra's thriving Chinatown district in Dickson. A 1.8km flat walk takes you to the central business district....

City Edge is wired ready for the future, with the latest fibre optic technology built in. You'll have the opportunity to tune in to your favourite pay-TV channel, because the cabling is all there, waiting. Enjoy the benefits of a fast internet connection and be prepared for advances in digital communications and home entertainment.

From City Edge Homepage, Archive copy, Sep 27, 2001

The project also emphasised ecological and social aspects:

Cox Humphries Moss were the winners of a design competition for the City Edge project. They are the Canberra office of the Cox Group, one of Australia's leading architectural groups responsible for the design of landmark developments in other Australian capitals. The group's guiding philosophy in urban design and residential projects is the creation of communities that are ecologically responsible and socially desirable, with a strong relationship to the surrounding community.

From: About Us, CityEdge, Archive copy, Sep 27, 2001

What the marketing didn't mention was the origin of the project and source of the land. A block of two story public housing flats called MacPherson Court were demolished for the development:

MacPherson Court is a public housing complex less than 2km from the Canberra CBD and comprises 4 blocks of flats.

Each block contains approximately 36 bedsitter flats. The complex is 37 years old and is nearing the end of its economic life. Some 14 units are uninhabitable and have been 'boarded up' as they require extensive repairs. MacPherson Court requires $3.8m to be spent on refurbishing to bring it up to a satisfactory standard. Even if this was undertaken these units do not meet contemporary standards of accommodation and are approximately half the size of current single person accommodation provided by ACT Housing in one bedroom flats...

The vision is to rehabilitate this site into a quality development which successfully integrates private housing with public and community housing and which has a good standard of architectural design, building quality and landscape/streetscape. It is expected that 75% of the newly developed site will be occupied by private home owners with the remaining 25% being public and community housing...

From: Building a better system Manual, University of Adelaide, April 1999

Apartments designed for the disabled

The new complex includes several apartments designed for the disabled. These are administered by Community Housing Canberra Ltd, a not-for-profit association of community housing providers for people on low and modest incomes.These apartments have adjustable height kitchen benches (including the sink and stove top) and wireless controlled front doors. The design of these apartments emphasizes practical low cost equipment. As an example the electrically operated doors are controlled by garage door openers and the adjustable height kitchen benches are adapted from office furniture. There is potential to add computerized controls for some of this equipment, provided it could be done at a low cost and reliably. As with the design of web sites, design for the disabled should also have benefits in better access for the general community.

Adjustable height kitchen bench 1 Adjustable height kitchen sink 2 Adjustable height stove-top3 Pull out pantry and work surface 4 Electric door opener5

  1. Adjustable height kitchen bench
  2. Adjustable height kitchen sink
  3. Adjustable height stove-top
  4. Pull out pantry and work surface
  5. Electric door opener

Standard Apartment

Floor PlanIn contrast to the special disabled apartments, the Smart Apartment is a standard one bedroom unit. (see: City Edge Apartment , Photographs from an inspection 11 December 2001). Apart from a patch panel for telephone and data cabling, there is little in the physical appearance to suggest high technology.

North side looking east1 Common property looking east 2 Dining and kitchen area3 Bedroom Window View4 Patch Panel5

  1. North side looking east
  2. Common property looking east
  3. Dining and kitchen area
  4. Bedroom Window View
  5. Patch Panel

Web page by