Constance Street Affordable Housing by Cox Rayner Architects
Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing: National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
This project for the Brisbane Housing Company is an excellent response to the provision of affordable housing on a difficult inner-urban site adjacent to a railway line. Built for a remarkable client with a strong track record of investing in excellent architecture for subsidized tenants, it deploys a deep knowledge of planning and technical issues to gain the highest benefit from limited resources. The result is humane and delightful.
The clever site planning and spatial strategy – the seventy-eight apartments are organized as two building blocks connected by a central, open-air atrium – increases amenity, providing a cost-effective, comfortable living environment. Access to all apartments is via this atrium, which also works as a sequence of social spaces. Gardens, spaces to sit alone or in a group, barbecues, outdoor laundries and interconnecting voids all mean that the journey to each apartment is a delight. Built-in concrete furniture invites occupation and extends the functionality of these open-air communal spaces. Nobody is isolated and there is good informal community surveillance and security.
The apartments themselves are well proportioned and all units have useful, spacious balconies. On the lower two floors, offices for community organizations extend the project’s impact and amenity for residents, while also contributing to the wider inner-urban community.
This well-executed housing project displays the skills of the architect in controlling program, brief and costs to provide lovely living spaces for those on constrained budgets.