As a result of the current political push for social housing, DS architects were approached by Aultun to help with a 62 unit development in Mitcham where the construction deadline was fast approaching. Having gone through numerous schemes with other designers the client needed a design that the council would approve, and work could begin early next year.
The project is situated between light industrial high-rise zone & single residential housing, and previous designs suffered from a lack of response to this context. Other issues included allowing all 62 required apartments access to natural light & ventilation. As well as accommodating a communal outdoor open space that also had access to natural light & ventilation.
Addressing all these issues was done utilizing the client’s modular building system, allowing us to progress with the construction methodology already in place.
The robust nature of these concrete modules work great with required life span of materials for social housing. Utilizing this durability, other complimentary material choices have been made with resilient, pre-finished materials to minimize on- going maintenance.
The final design has only 7 types of 1, 2 or 3 bedroom apartments. Each type has access to good natural light & ventilation, a vast improvement on previously rejected schemes. Streamlining the number of types of apartments also improves constructability, reduced costs & decreases time on site allowing the client to meet their stringent construction deadlines. By removing the various levels, not only simplifies construction but allows for better accessibility and inclusion. The residential units sit in the middle of the site surrounded my the natural landscape and outdoor communal space to facilitate moments of interaction and connection to place.
Despite this reduction in type, we managed to get more variation in the façade & respond to the sites context. The building has been stepped back at the interfaces with the neighboring single residential houses and increases in height towards the high-rise light industrial area at the back. The design allows for the passive surveillance of the rear laneway and communal space. Locating the green outdoor communal open space at the secondary street boundary also allows for interaction not only between residents entering & leaving but also the wider community.