- Article by BENT Architecture
- Photography by Trevor Mein
- Architect BENT Architecture
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Living Places Suburban Revival is the culmination of an open design competition to establish an innovative approach to medium density public housing that can sensitively integrate with and rejuvenate low-density suburbs in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.
Initiated by the Office of the Victorian Government Architect and the Office of Housing, Living Places involves the design of fifteen environmentally efficient, low-cost dwellings on six consolidated residential allotments in Dandenong. The project establishes a solar responsive urban framework which, in combination with efficient internal planning and the integration of ESD technologies, facilitates dwellings with energy ratings in excess of 8 stars. WSUD principles, grey water treatment and indigenous planting reduce the site’s dependence on mains water and minimise its impact on the local environment.
Living Places is spatially diverse and accommodates numerous household configurations. Private open spaces, semi-private gardens and operable fences and screens allow residents to mediate contact with neighbours, while centrally located communal outdoor spaces activate the site and create possibilities for interaction and self-expression.
Living Places demonstrates that public housing can be accommodated within established suburban environments without disrupting the neighbourhood or ostracizing the community within. Furthermore, they can be spatially rich and rewarding places to live.