The Commons sustainable apartments win national award

Photography: Andrew Wuttke

The winners of the 2014 Australian Institute of Architects Awards were announced last week in Darwin, with Breathe Architecture winning another sustainability award for The Commons, a 24 apartment eco development in Melbourne.

Breathe Architecture took out the David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture, and the Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture for The Commons at the national awards, to go with the Sustainability Award given at the Victorian Institute of Architects Awards earlier this year.

Sanctuary previewed this exciting residential development in issue 19. Read the article here.

Here’s what the Sustainable Architecture Awards jury had to say about The Commons.

Jury citation

“The Commons takes medium-density living in a groundbreaking new direction. Conceived as a flagship triple-bottom-line residential development, the project is about building an urban community and striking a balance between affordability, sustainability and liveability, where the focus is on people rather than architectural form.

Located in Brunswick, Melbourne, The Commons overflows with sustainable initiatives: instead of car parking, the building provides racks for seventy-two bikes and an adjacent car share space, as well as immediate proximity to a train station and bike path. Sustainability and affordability have been approached by reduction – no airconditioning, no second bathrooms and no individual laundries – instead, a communal rooftop laundry and sheltered drying area have been included. Materials are stripped back: no plasterboard ceilings, no chrome, no toxic finishes and off-gassing and no imported timbers.

However, this project is not just about stripping back. It also gives its residents great balcony gardens, fabulous rooftop vegie patches with wide-open views, cross ventilation and natural light throughout. Where important, top-performing products such as double-glazed thermally broken windows and sliding doors with high performance seals have been used.

Services are simple and sensible, reducing energy use and contributing to cost savings. From a photovoltaic array to a shared hydronic heating boiler and shared solar hot water system … the list goes on.

Even though it achieves an average 7.5 Star Green Star Rating, The Commons makes a clear statement that sustainability is about much more than just ratings – it is also about affordability, liveability, longevity and a great sense of community. The project nails environmental and social sustainability and is a commercial success and, with all but three of its apartments owner-occupied, it is clear that people want to live there. The Commons is a real leader and sets a brilliant example for other residential developments.”

 

 

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