High Street, Northcote
Public housing with a strong community heart
Category Large Residential Development | Project High Street, Northcote | Architect FMSA
ContextThis five-storey apartment building is an initiative of the State Government of Victoria (Department of Human Services) for the redevelopment of a public housing estate catering to older residents. The site is bounded to the west by High Street and to the east by a public park.
ChallengeThis substantial redevelopment project provides quality public housing in the context of a low scale neighbourhood. The tenant profile required one bedroom apartments that could be adaptable for people with a disability. The project also had to deal with a level difference of up to 3 storeys across the site.
ResponseThe building has been designed around a central, covered open space which provides access, cross ventilation and natural light to apartments, and offers a semi-private, all-weather outdoor area for tenants. More importantly, it creates a central hub for the development that links the project vertically and connects it both to High Street and the park. The development takes advantage of the site’s raised High Street frontage to provide main pedestrian access half way up the block. Colour, façade variation and deep balconies give individuality to the apartments.
LessonsThe design strategies of creating a strong heart to the development and playfully breaking up the bulk of the building enhance resident amenity and provide a strong and positive relationship with the wider context.