Designing for a Dual Access Block of Land - Episode 6 (Season 6 - Designing For Difficult Sites)
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What is a dual access block? Well, this is what we call a block that has two frontages – at opposite ends of the home.
This may be via two street frontages, because for some reason there’s been a subdivision that’s left a sliver of land only one block deep. Or it may be because the home faces a park where pedestrians can arrive at the home – but it has street access for car at the other side of it. Or perhaps, it has rear lane access at one end, and a street frontage at the other.
Your home may not have dual access strictly speaking - but perhaps it overlooks a park, or reserve area or golf club to its rear. However, as a result its back is more exposed, you might have popped a gate in your back fence, and you end up having two frontages as well. So some of these strategies used for dual access blocks will also apply to you.
If you’re listening in Australia, you may be familiar with the last season of The Block, which featured dual access blocks. There was a street on one side, and a laneway at the other end of each site.
Old cottages were relocated to the front of each site, with a new two-storey extension designed for them.
The extension had a kitchen / living /dining and deck at the rear, and then a garden. Then, on the rear laneway, a two storey building was built, which had garaging at the lower floor, and a studio over the top. These are also known as Fonzie Flats – in honour of Arthur Fonzarelli from Happy Days. If you don't remember Happy Days, I’m showing my age here. But it was a TV show we watched as a kid, and Fonzie lived in a flat over the Cunningham’s garage.
I'm not kidding though - this type of development is seriously known as a Fonzie flat in the property industry. And so I'll talk a bit more about this design strategy for dual access blocks, later in the episode.
There will be some parallels between a dual access block, and a corner block. However, I find that dual access blocks require some different thinking because of what happens to a home when it’s basically straddling between two public interfaces. What happens it has to face or address a frontage at either end of the block, maintain security and appear like its not turning its back, can be a bit different to the exposure of a corner block.
However there are consistent challenges and opportunities when it comes to designing for a dual access block that are worth being aware of to get great outcomes.
And, I take you 10 key questions to ask about your dual access block, and the home you’re building or renovating on it. These questions will help you create a home that suits your land, and creates a great outcome for your lifestyle.
Whether choosing a home off the plan, building a custom designed home, or renovating and extending your existing one, there are certain things to know so you can make the most of your dual access block.
Listen to the episode now!
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