BVN Architecture; Six Degrees Architects; Chenchow Little Architects and Officer Woods are all recipients of a National Architecture Award in the Residential Architecture category for multiple housing.  

The Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture — Multiple Housing award has been won by BVN Architecture for the design of Monash University Student Housing, Clayton.

The jury said:

"Monash University Student Housing, Clayton, comprises two five-storey buildings, each containing three hundred studios, flanking a central, common courtyard. A home away from home, the project successfully nurtures the student community while supporting the individual — the courtyard is the meeting point and entry to each building and where students interact between the private spaces and the common areas.

Shared spaces and vertical circulation are located at the centre of each building, encouraging interaction. The main communal spaces are double-storey volumes that play an important role in connecting all levels and defining the architectural composition. Each wing of the building has a cohort of thirty studios per level. At twenty square metres, the studio module — each studio with an ensuite, kitchenette, sleeping and study spaces — was refined to create a sense of spaciousness, incorporating extensive operable floor-to-ceiling windows and exposed 2.7-metre-high ceilings, with services contained at central risers. The external mass is effectively minimised and serially patterned by the offset coupling of units clad in vertical timber. The landscape environment is planted with an edible garden to encourage community use, recreation and provision, which enhances the sense of community.

This project has achieved a 5 Star Green Star As Designed rating and is in the process of assessment for a 5 Star Green Star As Built rating. It has been identified as a new benchmark for the federal government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme."

Photography by John Gollings

Six Degrees Architects has taken out the National Award for Residential Architecture — Multiple Housing for the Heller Street Park and Residences.

The jury said:

"Nestled into the suburban landscape of Melbourne’s Brunswick, Heller Street represents a new approach to increasing the density of inner suburbs. A disused contaminant clay pit has been transformed into a multi-residential cluster and community park. Settled with ease into the surrounding landscape, the ten timber-clad townhouses form a residential archetype in which communal living is carefully curated, equally borrowing from and supporting the council parkland that defines two thirds of the site.

Designed to house families, these residences have brought the traditional back garden to the forecourt of the development. Extrapolating notions of the migrant community, in which the front porch acts as a mechanism for direct engagement with the daily happenings on the street, this modest development encourages its inhabitants to spill out into the common space, providing a communal dialogue between neighbouring properties.

The rolling landscape mitigates the scale of the three-storey-plus-roof-terrace development. The concealment of basement car parking below allows for a gravel transition from the north-facing living zone terraces to the parkland. Carefully crafted interior spaces effectively utilize the north-south orientation within the development, providing a usable buffer to the southern boundary. The integration of joinery is used as a mechanism for defining and celebrating the use of space. As the chatter and delight of children playing within their realm activate the site, one is aware of the generosity this development brings to the surrounding community, whose members are encouraged to engage and adopt the park as their own."


Chenchow Little Architects have won a National Award for Residential Architecture — Multiple Housing for the Bell Romero Houses.

The jury said:

"A single house site has been developed with two semi-detached houses, typical in scale and complementary in character with others in the street. The skilful adaptation and reinvention of this traditional typology updates it to contemporary and more sustainable living, with better natural light and ventilation, greater privacy and more successful integration of the internal and external spaces.

Inventive reinterpretation of pitched roof forms and dark recessive colours blend with the adjacent landscape.

The ceiling of the top floor living spaces follows the pitch of the roof above. Each pitch in the roof defines a separate internal or external space. The consistency of treatment to both the internal and external spaces, along with the luminance provided to the interior by the skylights, blurs the boundary between inside and outside.

Operable louvres are skilfully, and at times poetically, used to control solar access, ventilation, views and privacy. On sunny days, they decorate simple spaces with beautiful linear patterns of light and shadow.

Within this strict program, each house maintains its own identifiable character and a quality of living that was not contemplated by the original semi-detached typology."

Photography by John Gollings


58 Stevens Street designed by Officer Woods has won a National Commendation for Residential Architecture — Multiple Housing.

The jury said:

"This grouped dwelling development uses the courtyards to balance communality and privacy, focusing on the provision of a flexible planning model that favours social housing principles – multigenerational occupation, universal accessibility, home office adaptability and internal subdivision – to accommodate growing and ageing families.

On an infill site in a transforming post-industrial setting, Officer Woods has designed a group of four houses. Rather than expressing each dwelling separately, Officer Woods has presented the dwellings as a single identity to the street, similar to a large house in the maisonette tradition. The built form engages with the material and construction language of nearby warehouses. Social sustainability is achieved by maximising the current density in an established location with high amenity, while providing dual key adaptability to allow dwellings to be divided if the site density code doubles in the future.

Building massing has been designed to zero setbacks on southern boundaries to maximise solar access, with buildings arranged to avoid overshadowing and provide acoustic separation between living and sleeping areas. Vehicle and pedestrian entries are separated to enhance safety, security and legibility. The budget was set up to increase longevity through the use of demonstratively low-maintenance and sustainable materials and finishes. The project relies on efficient planning and the juxtaposition of raw and refined materials to maximise cost effectiveness. Environmental analysis was used to calculate the embodied energy – subsequent auditing resulted in an average 7-star Building Energy Rating Scheme (BERSpro) rating across the houses. "

Photography by Robert Firth