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Nightingale 3.0 designs unveiled

Austin Maynard Architects has submitted a planning application for the third Nightingale residential development.

Nightingale 3.0 will be located at 209 Sydney Road in Brunswick, Melbourne, and will meet Sydney Road to the east and Saxon Street to the west. The project features 20 apartments (four one-bedroom, fourteen two-bedroom and two three-bedroom) over seven storeys and includes a rooftop garden, communal laundry and photovoltaic cells on the roof.

Because of the site’s proximity to the Upfield train line and bike path, Sydney Road trams, local buses and car share options, the proposal includes a green travel plan in lieu of car parking facilities. Reflecting demand from prospective purchasers, it also includes storage for 72 bikes.

The design counters the long, skinny site (57 metres long and 10.5 metres wide) by introducing two lightwells into bedrooms and an open-air common area between apartments at the centre of the site. The Saxon Street end of the building sits away from the southern site boundary to allow solar access to apartment owners (and to the neigbouring property) and balconies are set back from the street to maintain a street frontage consistent with the Sydney Road context. A retail tenancy on the Sydney Road side will be used by site owner Tony Patton’s fashion brand, Kinki Gerlinki, which already operates at the location.

Austin Maynard Architects says the project is conceived as a “love letter to Brunswick’s eclectic heritage and specifically to its often undervalued Mediterranean-Australian built history.” Arches inspired by the masonry arches typical to Sydney Road will characterize the exterior, but will be expressed in metal mesh to admit light into apartments and enable plants to creep up the facades.

Utilitarian materials reflect the area’s industrial past. Concrete and metal mesh facades will provide the backdrop for gardens on the east and west facades, while simple graphic elements characterize the north and south facades. Austin Maynard Architects hope the building will, over time, be transformed into a “vertical community garden within a masonry context … a tall garden full of life.”

Nightingale 3.0 follows the architect-driven model for apartments that its proponents say challenges the status quo of multiresidential development by producing environmentally, socially and financially sustainable housing. The Nightingale model delivers bigger-than-standard, sustainably-designed apartments and significant cost savings to purchasers. To do this, the financial model for the development caps profits to the project’s partners at 15 percent. Direct contact with potential purchasers cuts out real-estate agents, marketing agents, displays suites and the costs associated with them, and involves purchasers in the design process.

Two other Nightingale projects are currently under development in Melbourne. Nightingale 1 by Breathe Architecture is currently under construction at Florence Street in Brunswick, on a site opposite The Commons, a residential precedent for the Nightingale model also designed by Breathe Architecture. A planning application for Nightingale 2.0, designed by Six Degrees Architects and located at Station Street in Fairfield, has been lodged and a permit granted by City of Darebin. That decision was challenged by a group of local residents and will now be reviewed at a hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in December.

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