Case Study



WGV is a radical rethink of the delivery of infill in our suburbs. Led through community engagement and a focus on design thinking, WGV synthesizes an array of sustainability, affordability, infrastructure and servicing innovations that on their own would be world leading. Combined into one project at this scale is extraordinary, and the result of a passionate and closely connected design team, a visionary client and a willing and engaged local community.

A radical rethink of infill in White Gum Valley, a suburb 3kms from Fremantle's city centre
A radical rethink of infill in White Gum Valley, a suburb 3kms from Fremantle's city centre

What did we do?

We developed a built form vision for WGV that draws upon the eclectic character of the surrounding suburb whilst supporting the State Government’s vision for more densified suburbs to support our growing population.

Early conversations with key community stakeholders drove the planning, particularly around issues such as density, tree retention and built form. A series of housing typologies emerged that would integrate with the surrounding housing stock but was diverse enough to include apartments, single homes and discreet maisonettes. Compelling 3D imagery was developed to communicate the plan to the community and stakeholders and to ensure them that site memory was essential to the design.

Innovation sits at the heart of this project and initiatives include:

  • “Living Laboratory” delivering real time energy/water monitoring by residents;
  • Recognised internationally as a One Planet Living project for its integrated and holistic sustainability thinking;
  • Disruptive technology integration with solar battery trials across the precinct;
  • Flexible housing models, with cooperative housing, maisonettes and a rich mix of typologies;
  • Demonstration Design Competition, delivered as the ‘Gen Y’ house
  • Experimental Storm water system and a “purple pipe” community bore water resulting in a 70% reduction in potable water demand.

What was our impact?

  • We were part of a collaborative design process that included input from architecture, urban design, planning, landscape, developer, the community and City of Fremantle.

  • We developed a series of housing typologies that took into account site topography and tree retention.

  • We prepared the Design Guidelines, which provide a set of minimum standards in regard to solar access, enhanced outdoor living and a balance between street activation and privacy. Our DGs were designed to not be overly prescriptive but to allow designers to take cues from the surrounding environment.

  • We were appointed Estate Architect, ensuring the vision for the project is upheld through to the final delivery of housing stock.

  • We initiated independent, regular and extensive Design Reviews.

  • We worked with the other disciplines to ensure that as many trees as possible were retained – a factor of critical importance to the community.

  • We incorporated the idea of shared streets into the design.

  • We worked on the feasibility plan for the Cooperative Affordable Housing Project (now SHAC) – a partnership between the City of Fremantle and Access Housing to construct 12 affordable rental dwellings for artists who work in Fremantle but had been priced out by the market.


"In a first for us, we were essentially shown a piece of blank paper and asked ‘If we could draw our own plans what would we have there?’ and that was a really refreshing change. Most developers come to you with a preconceived set of plans and ask you to comment on it." Ingrid Waltham, Councillor, City of Fremantle

This project received many awards, including:

  • 2015 WA Awards for Planning Excellence, Planning Minister’s Award
  • 2016 Award for Excellence, Best Planning Small Project, National Planning Institute of Australia Awards
  • 2016 Australia Award for Urban Design, Policies, Programs and Concepts (small scale)