West Melbourne collective: final design

2017 May 22
by Tim Riley

We recently submitted our RFI response to Council for our 8 townhouse project in Ireland Street in West Melbourne. Comprising eight 3 bedroom townhouses over four storeys above a basement car park, each townhouse features around 115 sqm of gross floor area, 2 bathrooms and two floors of living space including a top floor balcony which will afford city views for 7 of the 8 dwellings.

Render of view from north east

Render of view from north east

The scheme has been perhaps the most challenging of all our recent projects. The main challenge was the highly irregular shape of the small 410 sqm site.

The design response resulted in the 8 partners deciding to decrease the site coverage from 100% to 78%. This allowed us to run a pedestrian path along the eastern boundary to connect Ireland St to Tait Lane that runs off Adderley St, and provide a communal courtyard space to the west which can be directly accessed by five of the eight townhouses.

Decreasing the site coverage in this way allowed us to provide direct light access to two facades of each unit which has dramatically increased the amenity for each of the units.

Of all our current projects this is probably the starkest example of how this collaborative development model differs from the traditional development model. Because all the partners are the future owners of the townhouses, we are focused on the long term and truly focused on the amenity of the dwellings. So we can collectively make design decisions that another purely for profit developer would not.

The floor plans for all the units have been standardised as much as possible to reduce construction costs and an internal void linking the two living areas enhances the feeling of space inside the floor plates. The external elevations include timber cladding and patterned tile entrances and we have opted for cement sheeting and steel cladding elsewhere to keep the structure as light as possible.

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