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    Nightingale 1: Melbourne's first utopian building?

    Brunswick VIC

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    From the architect: 

    Emerging from the success of neighbouring apartment building The Commons, Nightingale 1 is the inaugural project of the Nightingale Model - a replicable, triple bottom line housing model with an overarching priority towards social, economic and environmental sustainability.

    At its heart, Nightingale is all about people. Its architecture serves as a catalyst to unite a group of similar values and build a community. Apartments are affordable, sustainable, and easy to live in. Purchaser engagement from early stages has allowed the building to be designed completely with the end user in mind.

    The ground floor of Nightingale is about creating engagement between the Nightingale residents and the street, while reaching out to the wider Brunswick community. Seating nooks and a semi-public laneway to the heart of the building activate the ground floor. 

    Importantly, we looked beyond the drawing board to find values aligned organisations to occupy and to engage. Young up-and-comers Branch Studio Architects and Home.One, a not for profit who train homeless people in hospitality, look out onto Florence Street. Nightingale Housing, the organisation, are our anchor tenant looking out onto the lush fernery. Basing themselves here allows them to take tours of the building so that future architects, city planners and residents can see and feel what it’s like to live in a Nightingale.

    KEY DESIGN ELEMENTS

    Nightingale’s form is a simple response to Brunswick’s industrial heritage. Its steel-framed winter gardens respond to traditional warehouse characteristics while its recycled cream brick responds to the single storey single brick warehouses that once populated the vicinity.

    Hand painted signage leads residents through a cobblestone entry, lined with a tapestry of recycled brickwork.

    Lift lobbies lined by natural Blackbutt timber battens, mild steel plate and inset coir matting nooks, signal entries to generous apartments with a soft palette of waxed timber floors, concrete ceilings and exposed services. The northern apartments look out through a shipping chain screen, providing the framework for deciduous grape vines to occupy.

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    The rooftop decks, surrounded by lush greenery, overlook The Commons and the city beyond. The rooftop is about community and is divided into two parts. The north is about the utility of living; a simple communal laundry, water tanks and pumps, potting shed, clothesline and productive garden plots. The south is about people coming together; seating nooks nestled behind clusters of vegetation, an outdoor dining room and a rooftop lawn area for the Nightingale children to run and play.

    SUSTAINABILITY

    Nightingale is the first building in the country to be connected under an embedded network that is 100 percent fossil fuel-free. Nightingale is carbon neutral in its operation - no gas.

    We designed the building, the electrical reticulation, the owners corporation rules and the embedded network and metering systems and the metering and sharing of the solar so that every Nightingale resident receives 100 percent green power.

    Key Info

    Architect: Breathe Architecture

    Landscape architect: OCULUS Landscape Architecture

    Photography: Eve Wilson and Peter Clarke

    Completion date: 2017

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