Melbourne architects are calling for public and industry support for a new development model that will deliver environmentally, socially and financially sustainable homes, even as the city continues to be ranked one of the most expensive to live in.

Founded on the belief that architects have an obligation to protect and enhance the quality of buildings and cities, the Nightingale Model seeks to provide quality urban housing at affordable prices.

“The status quo development model is to build meaningless apartments designed to investor specifications for maximum yield with little or no regard for the people who will live there or their impact on the environment,” the Nightingale team state on their newly launched website.

“Our city deserves beautiful, affordable, well-built and well-sized apartments designed for real life. At present, developers are not delivering this and as long as their current formula remains profitable, they do not have an incentive to do so.”

Instead of focusing on profit maximisation, the replicable template seeks reasonable returns whilst maximising social and environmental outcomes by simplifying the development process and humanising the buildings.

This includes reducing marketing and sales costs by approximately $400,000, and reducing construction costs by about $1.1 million for the Nightingale Apartments by doing away with a display suite, real estate agents, basement car parking, second bathrooms and individual laundries and services.

However, quality will be assured with some of the cost savings reallocated to improve a project’s thermal envelope, high efficiency solar P.V, and titling of the ground floor tenancy to the owners corporation.

The Nightingale Model was initially developed by Breathe Architecture after its award-winning project The Commons, developed by Small Giants, gained widespread attention across Australia. The project now serves as the prototype for model, which hopes to change industry attitudes through demonstrative projects.

Already a second project is in the works. The Nightingale Apartments by Breathe Architecture is currently in Design Development stage, and the team is urging the industry to send a letter of supportfor the planning permit application to Moreland City Council. A copy of its application can be found here

Six Degrees is also searching for a site in Melbourne’s inner-north to develop the third Nightingale project.

Heller St Park and Residences by Six Degrees Architects. All images:

The Nightingale Model is supported by a number of well-known architects and organisations, including the Robin Boyd Foundation, Six Degrees, Architecture Architecture, Andrew Maynard Architects, Clare Cousins, MRTN Architects, and Wolveridge.

To get involved, please visit