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Picture this - A walking tour with Avi Friedman

Today's piece is a follow up to Alastair's article last week titled Avi Friedman's outside the box thinking on affordable housing.  I unfortunately missed Avi's public lecture at the University of Melbourne but was fortunate enough to be invited to come along on a morning walking tour to three contemporary social housing projects across Melbourne.

It was a great opportunity to gain insight from someone with Avi's wealth of experience and knowledge, whilst in return being able to provide him with a brief history of Melbourne and background on the evolution of Melbourne's housing, particularly social housing.  I look forward to catching up again with Avi either on a return visit to Melbourne or in Montreal sometime in the near future to further explore the changing methods and attitudes toward social housing.

The three projects we visited were McIntyre Drive, K2 Apartments and Horace Petty Estate; each of which demonstrates in its own manner the changes in mindset toward social housing design.  Gone are the cumbersome, monotonous commission housing blocks synonymous that still define Melbourne's inner city skyline, in their place smaller, dynamic designs which enhances their immediate surrounds.

McIntyre Drive Social Housing in Altona by McGuaran Giannini Soon

Quoting the Architecture AU article " McIntyre Drive Social Housing inserts high-density living into a suburban environment with the verve, skill and serious social commitment - sixty-nine apartments provide independent living for residents with disabilities, along with communal spaces and gardens.  The result is an inventive, exploratory engagement with a complex set of conditions, which makes welcoming, comfortable spaces for living."  Nominated for the Frederick Romberg Award for residential architecture, McIntyre Drive demonstrates the need for quality design when considering social housing.

K2 Apartments in Windsor (2007) by Design Inc

"The K2 apartments are the most environmentally sustainable public housing development in Australia. In recognition of the K2 Apartments' sustainability and socially responsible design, the development has won numerous awards."  With no less than ten awards including the 2007 Excellence in construction award and the 2008 Australian Institute if Architects (Vic) Award for Sustainable Architecture, K2 Apartments led the way for a swag of subsequent social housing projects which sought to emulate its success.,-programs-and-projects/projects-and-initiatives/housing-and-accommodation/k2-apartments

Horace Petty Estate in Prahran (1967, 2013) by Hassell  

Built by Kane Constructions, the revamped Horace Petty Estate involved "188 new apartments designed to meet high levels of demand for affordable rental housing in the inner city. The project includes a major new landscaped area running north from Malvern Road.  Environmental features include rainwater collection and reuse, thermally glazed windows, hydronic heating, gas-boosted solar hot water, bicycle storage and a rooftop garden. These features improve liveability while helping residents save on heating and cooling costs.",-programs-and-projects/projects-and-initiatives/housing-and-accommodation/prahran-estate-renewal/stage-one-development

And to round out proceedings an article on denser housing in Melbourne -

See a host of images from the three social housing projects below and as always please enjoy the photos. Until 2014, happy holidays, stay safe and peace out! 

McIntyre Drive Housing.

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