Property Council of Australia - April 15, 2019
Fresh approach to housing affordability
Newport Women’s Housing, a $5 million development in Melbourne’s inner west, is an exciting and adaptable new model for high-quality, affordable housing says ClarkeHopkinsClarke partner Toby Lauchlan.
The 20-residence development for at-risk women and children was designed by ClarkeHopkinsClarke and built by BuildCorp Commercial for Women’s Housing Limited.
Women and their children make up an increasingly large percentage of those in need of affordable housing. Those most likely to experience housing stress include older women over 55 and women who are forced to leave their homes because of family violence.
From the street, Newport Women’s Housing reads like a pair of contemporary two-storey townhouses and integrates seamlessly into its surroundings. Internally, however, it provides 20 one- and two-bedroom residences over three levels.
Each residence features abundant home comforts: natural light, ample space, quality finishes, energy efficiency, superior security, privacy and connection. The design maximises space with multiple roof forms, a central entry and a recessed third level.
“This project explores how good design can improve occupants’ quality of life by increasing their sense of safety, wellbeing, self-worth and happiness,” says project architect Mahi Antoniou.
Through clever spatial design and careful selection of materials, finishes and sustainable features the homes are comfortable to live in, and affordable in both construction and operation.
Sustainability features include cool coat roof treatment, extensive double glazing, ceiling fans in living areas and bedrooms, gas heating and hot water where possible, and gardens irrigated using raingardens and rainwater tanks. The residences have achieved a minimum 6-star NatHers energy rating.
Living spaces are flexible and functional. Terraces create secure, private outdoor space. And safety features, including secure access and high visibility for passive surveillance, are unobtrusively Newport_096A8433incorporated.
This project is ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s second award-wining collaboration with Women’s Housing Limited. A third project is underway.
ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects is a registered B-Corporation with a longstanding commitment to social impact through design.
“At ClarkeHopkinsClarke we believe we have a social responsibility to design neighbourhoods and housing for everyone, including exceptions to the social norms catered for by current housing models,” Antoniou says.
The critical success factor with this development was to carefully integrate each development into its surroundings, to “create connected communities” and “give residents refined contemporary homes with a real sense of sanctuary and permanence,” Lauchlan concludes.