Extending the legacy of Nightingale Housing, Nightingale 2.0 sees Six Degrees Architects and HIP V. HYPE combine forces in repurposing unutilised land in Fairfield, Melbourne.
With the completion of Nightingale 1 in Brunswick, the success of the establishment-shaking Nightingale Model was proven. The second instalment, Nightingale 2, is located in Fairfield and, like Nightingale 1, is in close proximity to a metro train station, capturing an unused opportunity to make responsible and considered use of inner-urban land. On a mere 500 square metre site, this venture sees the forces of Six Degrees Architects combine with HIP V. HYPE as project and development manager. Together with Atelier Projects as builder and Hansen Partnerships for planning, the mixed-use apartment and retail model affords its residents an all-electric, very low-energy building. Housing 20 apartments, three retail tenancies, shared communal spaces and amenity, the building deliberately does not offer car parking, encouraging the use of public transport to reduce individuals’ carbon footprint.
Now with an almost cult following, the model is founded to provide an opportunity for sustainable housing, affordably priced, allowing access to a larger breadth of occupants who would otherwise be priced out. Liam Wallis, founder and managing director of HIP V. HYPE says, “our approach to development and project management is design led…our aim is to solve problems by focusing on the end user.” Having previously worked to establish the accounting and legal structure to enable the first Nightingale project with Jeremy McLeod of Breathe Architecture, Nightingale 2 saw him take on roles as development manager, project manager, sales manager as well as sustainability consultant. Of the approach to Nightingale 2, he says, “with the best design outcome put forward, we then led the process of design optimisation to enable the intent to be delivered within budget.”
“Our involvement in The Commons and Nightingale 1 provided a critical base of learning which enabled boundaries to be pushed in building envelope efficiency, electric heat pump systems and electrical embedded network systems for Nightingale 2,” Liam reflects. He adds, “a research team from RMIT’s Sustainable Building Innovation Laboratory will be conducting a 12-month post-occupancy analysis of the apartments, and we look forward to reviewing results to enable our learnings to be further adapted for future projects.”
As with the preceding Nightingale project, a strong shared vision connected Six Degrees Architects and HIP V. HYPE to work toward a conscious outcome. Liam says, “we are big believers in the role of building design and its ability to create space that strengthens community bonds both within a building and its surrounding community. These spaces (within Nightingale 2) open up the daily circulation patterns of residents to the streetscape, and the moderate five-story scale of the building ensures that this activity has a physical relationship to the streetscape at each level.”
The design centres around an internal void, Liam explains, to “enable visual connection between residents, where elevated external footpaths provide nice spaces to stop and engage with neighbours.” He continues, “natural light to the fire stair by way of glass blocks increases the user experience of this often-forgotten space, leading to increased usage and increased passive exercise in daily life.”
The location of Nightingale 2 affords many other geographical benefits. Liam says, “the site’s unique location immediately adjacent to the heritage-listed railway platform and next to landscape provides a buffer to any future development, ensuring ongoing views, natural light and ventilation to each apartment.” Six Degrees Architecture ensured issues of noise and privacy were addressed by “reducing the size of windows, increasing the quality of frames and glass and placing these more intentionally. Each apartment is provided with greater privacy, reduced noise, reduced heat gain and loss and more wall space to personalise their home,” Liam explains. Together with a highly complex and well-integrated series of systems across the development, he says “the building operates with significantly reduced reliance on the grid. High levels of thermal insulation have the added benefit of achieving very high acoustic performance, cutting down on sound from the adjacent train line and road traffic from adjacent Station Street.”
In terms of benchmarking, the Nightingale Model has always sought to break that mold. Through the chosen collaborators, and their inherent engagement, the outcomes are reflective of their commitment. Liam says, “Nightingale 2 achieved an average NatHERS rating of 8.7 across all apartments, with 50% achieving 8.9 stars out of 10. Considering the Building Code currently requires minimum performance of 6 stars, this is an exceptional result.” He adds, “mobility and ecology are also a big part of our approach to sustainability for this project and residents won’t have access to car parking in the building, but they will however have access to secure bike spaces, a dedicated GoGet carshare for the building, and immediate access to public transport.” The incorporation of all integrated elements extends to the living elements also, where he says, “landscape has been incorporated into the building entry, elevated footpaths and shared roof yard both to create greater connection to nature’s seasonality and to enhance local habitat for birds, bees and other essential life forms.” With increasing awareness of developers’ responsibility to be sustainably, economically and socially conscious, Nightingale Housing seeks to lead the way by example in the hope that the resulting influence on design will increase the standards applied to all development across the board. With Nightingale 2 as the latest testament to the virtues of this model of development, the future of inner urban multi-residential living is assured of strong foundations.