The suburb of Brunswick, located four kilometres north of the Melbourne CBD is experiencing a housing revolution of sorts, with the rise of socially and environmentally responsible housing which prioritises good design outcomes and community building over the bottom line.

Known as ‘The Nightingale Model,’ the development model involves architects adopting the role of developer and putting their money where their mouths are in acquiring and developing sites into medium density apartment buildings located in close proximity to transport.

The model aims to address Australia’s housing and affordability crisis, with unprecedented population growth being experienced in our cities with Australia’s population set to tip  36 million by 2050.

The pace with which Australia’s population is growing is outstripping the delivery of housing - according to Nightingale Housing,  6.5 million new housing units will be required in the next 35 years to keep up with demand.

The Commons by Breathe Architecture was the pioneering development, paving the way for Nightingale 1 to be developed under the ‘Nightingale’ banner. Located on Florence Street in a developing pocket near Anstey Station, the ‘The Nightingale’ was completed in 2017 and subsequently claimed nearly every major design award along the way.

It will soon be joined by Nightingale 2.0 in Fairfield which is currently under construction and then Nightingale 3.0 on Sydney Road. Lt. Miller & Nightingale, a hybrid development in Brunswick East designed by Clarke Hopkins Clarke, represents the first building to be developed jointly between Nightingale Housing and a developer Lucent.

The next phase in the evolution of the Nightingale model will be Nightingale Village, which involves the redevelopment of former industrial land adjacent to the Upfield rail corridor into an ensemble of seven buildings designed by seven architects with limited parking provision and a greater emphasis on green modes of transport.

The Nightingale Village ensemble is limited to seven-storeys with buildings ranging in size from between 25 - 40 apartments.  Each is expressed with a two to four-storey street wall element and setbacks are employed above to ensure recessive upper levels.

The streetscapes have been designed to be highly active with each building including at least on the commercial or retail tenancy at the ground floor.

Individual buildings each provide their own unique contemporary interpretation of the local context, drawing on the industrial character through the adoption of domestic scale and highly tactile materials which will no doubt enhance the urban fabric of the area.

Nightingale Village employs good passive sustainable design principles, with buildings targeting 7.5 star NatHERS ratings. Additionally, most of the buildings employ light shafts to provide secondary outlook, with primary aspects directed to the north and south allowing for good solar access and natural ventilation.

The roofscapes have been designed to be highly active environments comprising a series of communal gathering spaces that include veggie patches, communal laundries and clothes lines amongst others.

Pending Council approval, the first of Nightingale Village’s buildings will commence in the second half of 2019.

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