8-star townhouse development in Melbourne
A disused bus repair shed has been transformed into a medium-density 8-star townhouse development located on Wurundjeri Country adjacent to the bushy parklands of Merri Creek, Northcote Place in Melbourne, Victoria.
The 12,000-square-site has 74 townhouses designed to achieve an overall NatHERs rating of 8 stars and landscaping featuring 80% indigenous species and designed as habitat for local fauna and flora to complement local regeneration initiatives. Shared public/private spaces are integral to the design, with the development featuring a community garden, widespread street furniture and a central mews for pedestrians and cyclists.
Northcote Place was born of an unusually close collaboration between Metro, Akas Landscape Architecture, SDC (Sustainable Development Consultants) and ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects, a carbon-neutral practice and one of Australia’s largest architectural BCorp.
Metro General Manager David Steele said the project was designed pre-pandemic but delivers the kind of environmentally and socially connected 20-minute neighbourhood that Melburnians, in particular, have called for since experiencing the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Eight stars is a tangible measure of energy efficiency that’s resonating with Northcote buyers because they’re ESD-focused,” Steele said.
SDC Director Ben De Waard said he knows of no other 8-star townhouse developments in Australia at this scale offering such holistic sustainability. “What’s a first here is the scale and the number of different sustainability elements Northcote Place brings together,” De Waard said.
The development’s sustainability elements include: high energy ratings, rainwater tanks connected to both toilets and laundries, a community vegetable garden, an electric-only option for people to be gas-free and the townhouses are ready for solar car charging battery storage.
Northcote Place townhouses have sliding doors at the bottom or top of the staircase at each level, which act as an airlock that stabilises air movement and increases comfort, and this element has helped to push the project’s overall energy rating from 7 to 8 stars.
ClarkeHopkinsClarke Multi-Residential Associate Janice Tan said other key design features include triple- and double-glazed thermally broken windows carefully placed for maximum effect.
“We’ve also used robust materials with high ESD values, north-facing living areas, cross ventilation, large eaves, ceiling fans in all bedrooms and living areas, solar power, rainwater tanks, large terraces, gardens and shared outdoor spaces designed as habitat, not decoration,” she said.
Landscape design by Akas has used an 80% indigenous plant palette and meshed that in with 10% natives, 10% exotics and local rock to reflect the local ecology and invite native fauna and flora into the site.
ClarkeHopkinsClarke Partner Toby Lauchlan said Northcote Place is conceived as habitat not just for flora and fauna but for residents and neighbours. “We’ve designed these homes, gardens and shared spaces as a micro community that reflects local values, connects local ecology and bike paths, gets better with age and creates an exemplar of contemporary community design.”
Phone: 03 9419 4340
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