New apartment meets old commission in Carlton

Today we look at a progressive design within Carlton that not only rejuvenates an underused tract of land, but also helps to break down a stigma associated with Melbourne's established social housing stock.

I'd like to think I'd be right in assuming the average Melburnian generally frowns upon social housing estate's such as those found in Richmond, Carlton or Prahran. Whether it be a perception of safety, crime, drug use or an altogether inhospitable public realm social housing estates in the eyes of many are no-go zones.

Enter the Carlton Housing Redevelopment project which "is an urban renewal and community development project that provides housing and community facilities for the entire Carlton community."

An overview of the Carlton housing redevelopment. Image courtesy DHS

Jointly developed by Citta Property Group and Australand, Living Carlton stage 3, better known as Local Carlton is a collection of 116 newly built six star green-rated private dwellings which share communal facilities with the long established Nicholson Street social housing complex. Designed by ARM Architecture and Fender Katsalidis, the centrepiece of the project is a new public park and linear urban park which connects Elgin Street and Palmerston Street.

Three new apartment buildings are designed in a horse-shoe format with the aforementioned park centrally located. At the core of the development is the notion that the large, open area with new recreational facilities will improve social interaction, safety and usability within the estate.

Where there was none prior

The green area and urban park (a children's playground) essentially invite inhabitants of the social housing towers and the public alike into the 'backyard' of the private apartments. Whilst it's a commendable design feature, ultimately the effectiveness of the layout will be borne out over time.

Will the park attract apartment dwellers, social housing dwellers of the general public? Will the park be used at all? Could this style of public-private living be easily adapted to other estate's such as Footscray or Richmond?

I can't answer those questions but I can provide a set of images taken within and around Local Carlton recently, highlighting both building and public spheres alike. Enjoy.

Local Carlton from Canning and Elgin
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1 comment

Bilby's picture

Thanks for the article, Mark. I've been watching this one with a lot of interest too - do you have any stats on how many of the apartments are classified as private vs public housing?

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