The Queensland government has announced the winners of the Density and Diversity Done Well competition. The ideas competition called for dwelling types to fill Queensland’s “missing middle” – dwellings that sit somewhere between the typologies of high-rise, high-density developments and free-standing, suburban family homes.

The competition was open to multidisciplinary teams that included architects, building designers, planners, landscape architects and urban designers, and received 100 submissions from across Australia. From these entries, seven were selected as winners, along with one student winner. Commendations were also given to a number of entries.

Each designer started with a typical neighbourhood block containing 20 dwellings that, together, could accommodate around 60 people. The designer could then choose to retain, raise, move or demolish the existing dwelling or dwellings, and determine building setbacks, parking and open space requirements in their proposed design.

“This competition was designed to encourage people to rediscover and reimagine Queensland neighbourhoods,” says Malcolm Middleton OAM, jury chair and Queensland government architect. “As our population grows, it is important to allow our cities, centres and suburbs to be the best they can be. We owe this to current and future Queenslanders.

“The outcomes of the competition demonstrate that a diverse range of secondary and primary housing forms are possible.”

The competition was a joint initiative of the Queensland Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and the Urban Development Institute of Australia Queensland. Each of the seven winners received $7,000. The student winner received $1,000.

Full list of winners below: 

Linear Landscape House by Rebecca Champney, Nettleton Tribe (QLD)

Champney proposes a “thin” idea that creates both front and back yard spaces, a shared street room, and a space for social outdoor activities. The narrow Linear Landscape House re-purposes the underutilised and ‘leftover’ space between the side boundary and an existing house, and increases the number of dwellings on the neighbourhood block from 20 to 40.

Dappled Dwellings by Trias (NSW)

Dappled Dwellings is a design that retains and builds under the existing house while placing two micro-dwellings out the back. These micro-homes are clustered around a central courtyard, and share amenities such as laundries, sheds, and spaces for cars and vegetable gardens. The design increases the number of dwellings on the neighbourhood block from 20 to 52.  

Eco-nesting by Arcologic Design (WA)

Arcologic Design’s idea creates a series of contemporary and compact laneway pavilions that utilise lightweight modular construction. The jury notes that they were “impressed with the attention to detail and incorporation of a range of energy- and water-efficient ideas, as well as flexible floorplan arrangements [that provide] a [range of] intergenerational and live-work opportunities”. The design increases the number of dwellings on the neighbourhood block from 20 to 70.

Paired Twin House by Kali Marane and Tess Martin (QLD)

Marane and Martin wanted to “create a place to pause, chat to a neighbour, or have a cup of tea while observing new life on the street”. Their idea accommodates up to four dwellings on a typical block by building within the area normally used as the front boundary setback and in areas free of mature trees. The design increases the number of dwellings on the neighbourhood block from 20 to 80.

Woven Places by Bligh Graham Architects (QLD)

“Our idea fulfils the requirement for achievable and affordable solutions, with minor disruption, great variety and flexibility all on a 600sqm block,” says Bligh Graham. The design incorporates unevenly subdividing a site to get four different dwelling sizes for increased diversity. It increases the number of dwellings on the neighbourhood block from 20 to 80.

Inter-Urban Diver-City by Gresley Abas Architects (WA)

This idea reimagines the suburban McMansion as a private community of four to six dwellings of differing size and type, and increases the number of dwellings on the neighbourhood block from 20 to 100. “The concept merges three sometimes maligned housing forms – the six-pack, the McMansion and the sharehouse – into a new flexible built form that offers a place to live for singles, couples, small young families, established families and empty-nesters,” says the jury. 

Laneway Tower-housing by Cox Architecture (QLD)

“Our design looks to the under-utilised backyard and the creation of a new subtropical laneway,” says Cox Architecture. On a typical residential lot, the architects believe their design allows for a maximum of seven dwellings, along with a separate cafe/retail/studio space and a large common courtyard. If adopted across a typical residential block, the design has the potential of a maximum of 140 dwellings. 


Mani Saham, University of Art, Tehran (now residing in the NT)

Building on the idea of the gable, Saham’s design integrates this building type with contemporary green roof terraces and new forms of living. The design increases the number of dwellings on the neighbourhood block from 20 to 40.


  • Urban Pixels by Urbis (QLD) 
  • Side House Project by Sprout Architects (QLD) 
  • Links and Thresholds by Anna O’Gorman Architect (QLD)  
  • Retrofix by Arkhefield with Urbis (QLD)  


  • Madeleine Arrow, University of Queensland


  • Plus One by Zeglar Fergus (QLD)
  • Hyper-Flexible Terrace by DegenhartSHEDD with Robert’s Day (QLD) 
  • The Missing Mews by Joshua Tait (QLD)
  • Suburban 3-2-1 by Graham Anderson Architects (QLD) 
  • The Green Commons by Urbis (QLD)
  • Green Roof by Code Green (NSW) 

Images: Queensland Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning