The block is located within Nightingale Village, a collection of six apartment buildings by different architects for housing not-for-profit Nightingale Housing that all demonstrate its development model, aiming to create housing which is “environmentally, socially and financially sustainable”.
Bright yellow balconies enliven Melbourne apartment block by Austin Maynard Architects
Bordered by neighbouring buildings to the east and west, Austin Maynard Architects opened-up the block of 37 apartments to face a public park to the north, to which it presents a series of ground floor gardens and a facade of yellow balconies.
Two large “light courts” were arranged between the apartments to create dual-aspect spaces
Cutting through the centre of the block is a yellow-painted pathway, which forges a new connection between the park and the more urban condition of the front of the block, as well as providing secure bicycle parking for residents.
“Our site was challenging, with pre-existing interface to the east and proposed planning for an apartment building of a similar scale at the rear,” explained the studio.
“Fortunately, just prior to construction, the council acquired the rear site and approved a public park instead.”
A series of ground floor gardens and yellow balconies line the building’s facade
“Now afforded a lush outlook we were able to share the opportunity with The Village,” it continued.
“By separating our ParkLife community entry and secure bike parking we made a pathway, creating a central walkway right through the centre of our building, to connect The Village ‘hub’ at Duckett Street with the new park.”
ParkLife is divided into one, two and three bedroom apartments, as well as two of what Nightingale Housing calls “Telihaus apartments” – space-efficient subsidised dwellings that are designated social housing.
Apartments are organised at the front and rear of the block, with two large “light courts” at the centre allowing each to include dual-aspect spaces and an external common space alongside the lift and stair cores.
On the roof, shared facilities including a toilet, laundry and drying area sit alongside a sheltered terrace and the “amphitheatre”, an area of stepped wooden seating that overlooks the front of the block.
ParkLife’s exteriors were cladded in white steel with cables and grills allowing vegetation to grow
“Designed in collaboration with the Landscape Architects Openwork, [rooftop] spaces include a productive garden with fruit trees and a real grass lawn for picnics,” explained the studio.
“There is a covered deck, big enough for large gatherings, with an electric barbecue, sheltered from the harsh sun and strong winds.”
The apartment interiors integrate timber floors, white walls and concrete ceilings
Austin Maynard Architects drew on visual motifs from its previous residential projects for the finishes of the block, such as the zigzagging roofline from RaeRae House, and the yellow colour used in My-House.
White steel cladding covers the exterior, with cables, grills and rods to allow vegetation to grow, and internally the apartments were kept “deliberately simple”, with timber floors, white walls and concrete ceilings.
The apartments were configured to draw in natural light and to allow occupants to personalise the interiors
“The intent was to allow the community to personalise their homes rather than apply too many finishes and textures,” explained the studio.
“Attractive, functional spaces were created with great views and lots of light, which can be embellished in any way the residents want to make the apartment their home,” it continued.
Other apartment buildings completed as part of Nightingale Village include Leftfield, an affordable housing block by Kennedy Nolan finished with ochre-pigmented concrete.
The photography is by Tom Ross
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