Nightingale 1.0 - Housing People, Building Community
Nightingale Week
Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Words Rose Onans
Photography Kintaro Studios


The Local Project presents, in collaboration with Fisher & Paykel, a video interview with the team behind Nightingale 1.0, the first completed apartment building under the Nightingale Housing Model.

We spoke to Jeremy McLeod, Director of Breathe Architecture and Managing Director of Nightingale Housing, Bonnie Herring, Director of Breathe Architecture and resident at Nightingale 1.0, Fairley Batch, Associate at Breathe Architecture and Project Architect on Nightingale 1.0, and Daniel Varcoe, Specifier Designer BDM at Fisher & Paykel, about how Nightingale is reinventing the fundamentals of housing in Australia.

Jeremy McLeod explains the revolutionary Nightingale Model simply – ‘It’s designed to deliver housing at cost, that’s affordable, sustainable and that builds community.’ Yet this straightforward explanation belies the vision, hard work and creative thinking of those who have made Nightingale Housing a reality. Finding like-minded partners and supporters was key to getting Nightingale projects off the ground. Fisher & Paykel approached Nightingale when Nightingale 1.0 in Brunswick, Melbourne, was beginning construction and Nightingale 2 and 3 were in the planning phase. ‘When we first got involved there was only three projects underway, and now there’s a whole lot of people on the waiting list, so there’s an opportunity for us to help get these projects up and running and really get some people into beautifully designed sustainable homes’ says Fisher & Paykel’s Daniel Varcoe.

Breathe Architecture and Nightingale Housing ‘only work with aligned organisations, with people who care about the planet as much as us’ says Jeremy, so the it was a significant choice to partner with Fisher & Paykel. It was clear from the first meetings with both management and the industrial design team that ‘it was a perfect values fit’ – the Nightingale team responded to Fisher & Paykel’s design-focused approach to Nightingale and willingness to engage with the specific and unique needs of the building.

The first and greatest challenge Nightingale were facing was delivering a fossil fuel free and carbon neutral building. The Nightingale team worked extremely closely with Fisher & Paykel to make sure the induction cooktops worked with the maximum electrical demand of the building, which meant it did not require a substation. ‘That’s the level of thinking, the level of engagement and collaboration that Fisher & Paykel brought to us’, says Jeremy.

It was also important that the simple, elegant aesthetic of the appliances, which include the integrated double Dishdrawer, nine function electric oven and 600mm induction cooktop, also aligned with the aesthetic of the apartments’ interiors. ‘It’s super clean, integrated… it’s really a bit of a blank canvas’ says Dan McKenna, Senior Project Lead at Nightingale. Bonnie Herring, Associate at Breathe Architecture agrees, ‘We’ve designed the kitchen to perform based on the essentials, so our kitchens are really elemental.’, she says.

Working together on Nightingale 1.0 has been an opportunity for Fisher & Paykel and Nightingale Housing to solve some of the key issues facing Australian housing today. Ensuring the building could be carbon neutral and fossil fuel free is an enormous step in making housing more sustainable, and more affordable for the residents over the long term of their life of the building. Continuing to work together on the 12 projects currently in active development will be an ongoing exercise in finding innovative design solutions and shaking up our ideas about affordable, sustainable housing that fosters community.

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