Northbourne Flats – 2011

The Chief Minister of the Canberra Government announced a Commendation Award for the firm’s entry

The site is situated on both sides of Northbourne Avenue about 1km away from the Canberra Civic Centre. The development will provide 1000 units which will almost triple the existing accommodation available. The original buildings on the site were built in the 1960s as a solution for the increasing demand for public affordable housing in the nation’s capital city. They were built with strong influences of international style ideas which were simple in nature with industrialised building components, such as curtain walls and flat roofs. Today, they have certainly failed in many aspects, appearing as social housing with associated stigmas.

This scheme adopts the idea of creating new buildings rather than recycling and remodelling existing stock that is outdated, congested and inappropriate. While the reuse and integration of the existing buildings would be ideal due to their architectural significance in the context of Canberra buildings, they would have to be altered beyond recognition in order to achieve optimum site coverage. Therefore we decided on a new build solution. Our intention for this project is to create a collective urban living space which has its own identity, so residents can feel a sense of belonging and pride. It should be inviting, friendly, having a sense of calmness, warmth, having a resolved balance, and an appropriate scale for relevant spaces. The housing mix is diverse to accommodate a variety of household types and encourage social inclusion.