Text description provided by the architects. This is old Brunswick, it’s industrial, and it’s run down, yet there exists a strangely endearing quality of this area - it’s people; it’s sense of community. It is a melting pot of migrant activity, everyone coming together to form one totally imperfect community. Emerging from the success of neighbouring apartment building The Commons, Nightingale 1 is the inaugural project of the Nightingale Model - a replicable, triple bottom line housing model with an overarching priority towards social, economic and environmental sustainability.
At its heart, Nightingale is all about people. Its architecture serves as a catalyst to unite a group of similar values and build a community. Apartments are affordable, sustainable, and easy to live in. Purchaser engagement from early stages has allowed the building to be designed completely with the end user in mind. Nightingale’s form is a simple response to Brunswick’s industrial heritage. Its steel framed winter-gardens respond to traditional warehouse characteristics whilst its recycled cream brick responds to the single story single brick warehouses that once populated the vicinity.
The ground floor of Nightingale is about creating engagement between the Nightingale residents and the street, whilst reaching out to the wider Brunswick community. Seating nooks and a semi-public laneway to the heart of the building activate the ground floor. Importantly, we looked beyond the drawing board to find values-aligned organisations to occupy and to engage.
Nightingale 1 is made up of a series of meaningful architectural moments. The planning was kept simple. Materiality took precedence over form. Hand-painted signage lead residents through a cobblestone entry, lined with a tapestry of recycled brickwork. Lift lobbies lined by natural Blackbutt timber battens, mild steel plate, and inset coir matting nooks, signal entries to generous apartments with a soft palette of waxed timber floors, concrete ceilings and carefully curated, exposed services. The northern apartments look out through a shipping chain screen, providing the framework for deciduous grape vines to occupy.
The rooftop decks, surrounded by lush greenery overlook The Commons and the city beyond. The rooftop is about community and is divided into two parts. The north is about the utility of living - a simple communal laundry, water tanks and pumps, potting shed, clothesline, and productive garden plots. The south is about people coming together. Seating nooks nestled behind clusters of vegetation, an outdoor dining room and a rooftop lawn area for the Nightingale children to run and play.
Being on the rooftop and seeing how the residents interact with it and each other demonstrates that Nightingale truly achieved its goal - a triple bottom line building that is sustainable, affordable and built community. It is the first building in the country to be connected under an embedded network that is 100% fossil fuel free. Nightingale is carbon neutral in its operation - no gas. We designed the building, the electrical reticulation, the owner’s corporation rules, and the embedded network and metering systems and the metering and sharing of the solar so that every Nightingale resident receives 100% green power.