New 9 Star apartment design

Photography: Steffen Welsch Architects

In line with this issue’s focus on green city living, here’s a sneak peek at Steffen Welsch’s new designs for a 9 Star apartment block in Thornbury, Melbourne, Wohnen Morgen (Living Tomorrow).

The architects who specialise in sustainable design are aiming to transform a standard suburban block, typically used for a three bedroom house, into ten 9 Star homes. With the population of Melbourne set to increase to over 5 million by 2030, projects which understand urban density and sustainability are crucial, says Steffen.

The Wohnen Morgen design is underpinned by passive solar principles and the efficient use of space. The small site also recognises the importance of green space for cooling, liveability and to offset the urban heat island effect, and includes a rooftop garden, a green roof and walls and community food growing areas. With rainwater harvesting, ease of access for cyclists, shared laundry facilities and a high degree of energy efficiency. Wohnen Morgan is a promising design.

The architects have also thought deeply about social sustainability: “One purpose of buildings, and our fascination with designing them is they can bring people together,” says Steffen. “We believe that this apartment building will be successful for its opportunities to form a community – communal and public spaces are located and designed to encourage interaction.”

Materials with low embodied energy have been recommended in the design, for example party walls made of rammed earth and recycled concrete.

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