Artist impressions of The Nightgale

Breathe Architecture reveals new plans for Nightingale

Jan 20, 2015
  • Article by Online Editor

Images courtesy of Breathe Architecture

Following the success of The Commons in Melbourne’s inner city suburb of Brunswick, Breathe Architecture’s designs for Nightingale challenge existing social mindsets and industry practices.

Jeremy McLeod of Breathe Architecture says that there is a healthy international culture of living in apartments, which has not yet reached Australian shores.

McLeod’s opinions are supported by a 2014 study into water usage data entitled Speculative Vacancies, which revealed that about 65,000 of 1.2 million properties in prime areas of Melbourne are probably unoccupied. This is a symptom of what many have been referring to as a housing bubble within Australia’s major cities.

The success of The Commons apartment building reveals that, via considered design and community-oriented architecture, perhaps designers and architects hold the power to change Australians’ views towards apartment living.

The Commons exterior view
An exterior view of The Commons


The firm’s decision to eliminate second bathrooms as well as an underground carpark from their designs saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars when constructing The Commons. As well as this, the designs also replaced all individual laundries with a collective laundry situated alongside the shared rooftop space.

Because of these considerations and their effect on the cost of the project, other aspects of the building’s design could be given more time, such as the environmental impact of the building, how it could self-regulate its temperature and what this meant for the actual floor plan of each apartment. For one resident of The Commons, these considerations mean that he doesn’t have to share his balcony with a “square-metre air conditioner that’s just going to hum all day.”

A balcony in The Commons
A balcony in The Commons


The first 8 Star Energy apartment building to be constructed in Australia, The Commons includes a 4.9KW solar panel power supply for the common areas, thermal-break double framed glazed windows and doors, internal light voids providing natural light, a grey water storage and reticulation system and heavy insulation to maintain a year-round temperature, eliminating the need for any building-wide air conditioning.

The firm’s designs for Nightingale, to be constructed opposite The Commons, follow and perfect the design principles that made The Commons so successful. According to Breathe Architecture, with much of the building’s construction being crowd-funded, the ultimate goal of The Nightingale is “to provide quality urban housing at an affordable price by simplifying both the development process and the building itself”.

The Nightingale FloorPlan
The Nightingale’s architectural designs


The Nightgale Side View

While projects like these seem insignificant compared to the scale of apartment buildings being constructed in such inner-city areas as the Docklands, their ethos as well as their simplistic design principles are attracting immediate public interest.

Unfortunately for those who missed out, a ballot for Nightingale was run on January 14th 2015, with all the apartments being allocated to ballot winners. However, local firm Six Degrees Architects are already leading the second Nightingale V2.0 project, revealing a promising future for the growth of this particular model of designing and constructing apartments.

Read our insightful interview with Jeremy McLeod about Breathe Architecture’s award-winning Commons

Conversation • 4 comments

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22 Jan 15 at 10:11 AM • Arvedui

Good marketing, that`s all.
Building the usual “dog-boxes” even cheaper and selling it as the next big thing 🙁

21 Feb 15 at 5:28 PM • Anna

Actually, they’re significantly larger than the average 1 or 2 bedroom apartment.

According to AFR the size of the average new 1 bedroom apartment in Melbourne is 44m2 and the average 2 bedroom is 59m2.

In the plan above the 1 bedroom apartments are about 52m2, and the 2 bed are 80m2, 20% and 35% larger than average respectively.

05 Apr 15 at 1:17 PM • Kate

I love this concept and design. As a first time home buyer, I’m finding it really difficult to get excited about home ownership. Everything is ridiculously expensive and doesn’t typically embrace community or environment. I don’t think I’m alone in valuing these things, and I think the days of large houses and sprawling yards are coming to an end. If we are going to have medium or high density living, this is the direction we should be taking. Hope to see more and more of this type of development across Australia.

25 Feb 16 at 8:48 PM • Crom

building on former public owned land with no regard for locals at all. You can try to hide a turd slab (tilt) with some planks of wood or some cheap metal…but it will never replace open space and green zones. The new project in Fairfield will destroy one our last remaining open space vistas that relaxes and enhances our major thoroughfare. Can these new ratholes give us moist fresh air fragrant of apple blossom like the current fairfield green?


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