Nightingale unveils new project

A second apartment development in the Nightingale model of architect-driven, bigger-than-standard, sustainable design apartments has been submitted for planning approval.

Designed by Six Degrees Architects, Nightingale 2.0 will have 20 apartments contained in a five-storey building – four one-bedroom, 12 two-bedroom and four three-bedroom.

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The building’s elevations will be largely comprised of textured concrete panels, with external walkways on the street side helping to break up the visual bulk of the building.

“There’s a high degree of articulation,” said James Legge, director of Six Degrees. “A lot of what the design of the building is about is being able to see what’s going on within the building,” he continued. “So the walkways are on the street, you can see people accessing their places.”

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On the northern side of the building, facing the railway line, stainless steel mesh balustrades (a requirement of VicTrack to prevent objects thrown onto the railway tracks, as Legge said) will have climbing plants grown over them. “So, after a couple of years it should be a quite a green building, particularly if the residents start engaging with it as well,” Legge said.

The design aims to achieve an energy rating of 7.4 stars, owing to green initiatives including rain water recycling, a green travel plan for residents and photovoltaic cells on the roof, which could be an embedded network within the building, depending on negotiations with the local power authority.

The site, located on the corner of Station Street and Railway Place in Fairfield, north-east of Melbourne’s CBD, is part of a retail precinct in the suburb.

“We’ve addressed that precinct with the three new tenancies so there’s a lot of street life and activation on the ground floor,” Legge said.

The proponents of the project anticipate the rental income from the tenancies will eventually contribute towards lowering the body corporate fees for owners of the apartments.

The communal facilities in the development will include a recreational roof deck, and a “working” roof deck that includes a productive garden, shared laundry facilities and clothes lines.

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Similar to the first iteration of the Nightingale project designed by Breathe Architecture, Nightingale 2.0 is adjacent to a railway station and will have no car parking. Instead, two to three bicycle parks will be provided for each apartment, totaling 46 spaces. A survey of prospective residents found “84% of respondents already travel to their place of work or study without the use of a car, and 76% travel to meet daily needs (e.g. banking, shopping) using sustainable transport modes.”

A traffic report of the area surveyed the occupancy rates of both on-street and off-street parking in the surrounding area. It found an average occupancy rate of 64% across nine time periods over three days for on-street parking and 57% for off-street parking. The report concluded that “ample car parking during the evening and weekends and a demand for up to two residential visitor spaces will not have a perceptible impact on the nearby area. These can accommodate the demands associated with customers and visitors.”

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