Our brief for this project was to design a 30 unit affordable housing development on an internal brownfield urban site not previously used for housing in the heart of Moonah. Our challenge was to provide an exemplary, iconic and quality outcome for a standard social/affordable housing budget, with high levels of energy efficiency, sustainability and site amenity.
The development responds to these challenges with a design that is versatile and flexible, in accordance with Universal Design standards, and overall the project makes a confident statement in support of a paradigm shift in thinking about what social housing should be and should look like. The constraints of the site are turned to advantage to create a sheltered internal communal courtyard, with many shared amenities including a BBQ shelter, children’s playground, raised vegetable gardens, and outdoor play areas, and its success is reflected in its use as an exemplar project in the Tasmanian Government’s Residential Development Strategy.
This project also provides exemplary levels of energy efficiency, sustainability and site amenity. The success of the sustainability ambitions of the design are validated by its achievement of a Tasmanian-first 5 star Green Star Multi-residential certification, and it is amongst only a handful of social housing projects nationwide to do so. At a more detailed level 7 or 8 star energy ratings and solar hot water are achieved for every unit; photovoltaic panels supply electricity; and underground tanks retain rainwater for re-use in the development.
Overall, the site layout and individual housing designs work together to help create and support a new sustainable community. The success of the project for those who call it home is reflected in the central part that they, and the project, played in the awarding of the Tasmanian Community Achievement Environment Award to Xsquared Architects in 2014.