Pilbara Vernacular

Many Pilbara communities are about to experience major redevelopment of their town centre in response to the anticipated industrial and population growth in the region. Hedland and Karratha have been identified as the future cities of the Pilbara region, each with a projected population of 50,000 people. This major infrastructure redesign will include higher density mix-use and residential developments close to key amenity. It will also provide a diversity in housing not currently offered in Pilbara towns.

In larger towns, most mix-use and high density residential development will be three to four storeys.

Smaller towns will require higher density development of low rise buildings, so the towns can retain their existing pedestrian-friendly size. Medium to high density low rise developments are significantly more expensive to construct per square meter than their high rise counterparts. For towns, such as Onslow which is expected to triple in size in the next few years, higher density development is a critical component if they are to contain growth within a compact town scale.

The simultaneous expansion of all these towns provides an opportunity to test innovative planning and design which responds to the place of its location. We can expect high density development to become part of the urban fabric of the Pilbara. We need to prepare for this development by assessing, and being alert to, the opportunities and constraints of the Pilbara region.

Many of the planning and design strategies recommended in the other parts of the Pilbara Vernacular Handbook will be useful and should be considered in the development of mix-use buildings. This chapter provides guidance to key design and development considerations specific to medium to high density buildings. However, it can only provide overarching strategies and there are micro considerations specific to each site and town which the developer and designer need to address.

The mix-use strategies respond to the same design values as the urban realm and housing strategies in the Pilbara Vernacular Handbook.

These strategies respond to the Pilbara context. Other generic aspects of mix-use development, such as passive surveillance, signage, vehicle parking, acoustic separation, life cycle of the building are not fully addressed in this chapter and information is readily available in the BCA and local government Town Planning Schemes (TPS).

Click here to read more about Pilbara Mix-Use Buildings

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Pilbara Vernacular