Advertisement

Is this Melbourne's best new residential development?

7 Florence St, aka The Commons is a development of 24 apartments over five levels abutting Anstey Station, Brunswick. Designed by Brunswick firm Breathe Architects for developer Small Giants, it carries a list of ESD features as long as it is impressive, they include:

  • An incredible 8-star energy rating.
  • Solar power & solar hot water.
  • Hydronic heating system.
  • Rooftop garden and communal vegetable patch, acting as insulation for the building.
  • Natural ventilation (no airconditioners installed).
  • Extensive use of recycled building products, including recycled timber floors.
  • First zero-car residential development outside the CBD, GoGet Car Share available.
  • Yearly Myki card included.
  • Vertical vegetation over northern facade, acting as sun shade.
  • Double-glazed windows.
  • Shared laundry room to minimise space and waste.
  • Chrome and aluminium replaced by copper, brass and mild steel, providing a better enviornmental outcome.
  • Use of cafe by residents as a communal area after business hours.
  • Extensive bike parking located internally & externally, including parking within the ground floor cafe.
The Commons, front and rear. Image courtesy Eco Citizen Australia
Vegetable garden. Image courtesy Eco Citizen Australia

Incorrect skyline graphic aside, the rooftop area (above) is designed to be more than a typical communal area that are generally underutilised areas in far too many apartment buildings. Seemingly designed to be functional rather than elegant, the communal vegetable garden in particular should lead to this area being a well used, rather than wasted space.

Currently Kubic Construction are well along the path to completion. Salvaged brickwork from the factory which used to stand on site is due to be making an appearance throughout the ground level soon. Held onsite, these bricks represent increased efficiency while lowering waste. Those readers who understand the area will know that many of these bricks as with many others in the area are sporting extensive street art and graffiti tags, so when reconstructed the brick walls should carry an ecclectic colour pattern, adding visual interest.

The Commons - construction progressing nicely

Upon completion Dead Man Espresso will move into the cafe space, this being their third Melbourne outlet following those in South Melbourne and Seddon. At that point they will where possible source produce from the rooftop garden, enforcing the notion of a self-sustaining building while residents can access the street via a stair well entry inside Dead Man Espresso fostering the notion of a communal hub. Also included throughout the ground floor will be three artist spaces.

So there you have it, an apartment building that's ideally situated and sized, ticks all the ESD boxes, is visually enjoyable and symapthtic to its history and surrounds - a strong enough case to make the most ardent higher density living / apartment critic sit up and take note. What becomes more difficult is scaleability, that being taking the ethos and features of a building such as The Commons and applying them to a 50 level apartment tower, not an easy prospect. Something else to consider, why don't more apartment buildings of similar size to The Commons carry similar ESD features? A question for planning authorities and responsible legislative bodies I suspect.

To answer my initial question, is this Melbourne's best new residential development? I say absolutely!

1 comment

Chris Peska's picture

I agree with you Mark. A great example for future inner city urban development.

Observe. Design. Build. Live.

Back to top
Advertisement

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Advertisement

Transport & Design

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.