The Commons Mixed Use Building – Brunswick

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The Commons was the building that inspired the Nightingale model and starting a movement in sustainable and community minded development in inner suburban Melbourne.

The Commons is a twenty-four unit residential development, with ground floor mixed uses, that was inspired by the ideology of creating a vertical community. The ambition was to create a livable multi residential project that was ecologically, financially and socially sustainable.

The building is car parking free and includes the following sustainability attributes:

  • Recycled bricks from the original warehouse building on-site.
  • Low-embodied energy fixtures and fittings.
  • The timber facade is rated to last 50 years above ground without oiling or painting.
  • Apartment layouts allowing for natural cross ventilation and including ceiling fans meaning no air-conditioning was necessary.
  • A green facade along the north boundary providing shading and connection with nature.
  • Internal finishes demonstrating low or no Volatile Organic Compounds.
  • Double-glazed thermally broken windows and high quality seals.
  • A communal a rooftop laundry; maximising apartment floor space and reducing energy costs but also providing for social cohesion.
  • A communal rooftop terrace incorporating clotheslines, working veggie patches, solar panels, beehives, in addition to various areas to accommodate both large crowds and intimate gatherings.
  • Located adjacent Anstey Train Station, Upfield Bicycle Path and Sydney Road trams.

The development has won numerous architecture and sustainability awards, with further information obtained through the Nightingale Website. Architects: Breathe Architecture.

Capacity: Urban Planner, Moreland City Council

Neil Cooney, along with Principal Planner Mary Hoffman, managed, assessed and approved the development application whilst working at Moreland City Council.

This work included:

  • Addressing concerns relating to lightcourts such as: adequate daylight, noise transfer, privacy and maintenance. This was in 2011, before a time when lightcourt design was common practice and minimum criteria in place.
  • Coordinating Council’s assessment against ESD principles, including rainwater collection, recycled materials and internal environment quality.
  • Facilitating the car share parking space with Council’s engineering department.
  • Finalising appropriate material and finish specification to ensure a good urban design response was achieved.