Melbourne homes offer close quarters community living

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122 Roseneath St. has a planned 18 townhouses and 49 apartments(Credit: Gabriel Saunders)

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A new residential development in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, is aimed at treading lightly on the ground, while fostering a sense of community among residents. 122 Roseneath St., in Clifton Hill, will offer a variety of one- to three-bedroom apartments and townhouses with small footprints.

The notion of "community" is cropping up in all sorts of new developments at present. We've seen it drawn upon for apartment and co-living developments like the Commons and the Collective Stratford, as well as in spacious eco-developments from the likes of ReGen Villages and Smart Urban Villages. While a focus on fostering community can make a development a more desirable place to live and even more functional, here, as in some other places, it is also employed to offset the more limited living spaces that residents have.

The 122 Roseneath St. development is a collaboration between Wulff Projects, Icon Co and Assemble, who are are said to have a shared belief in small footprint living and have made "vertical living" an inherent aspect of their designs. The latter sees a community of people living more densely than might otherwise be the case, with homes (in this case apartments) stacked upon one another to facilitate this.

With a planned 18 townhouses and 49 apartments, the developers were keen to have the support of the local community and carried out consultations before beginning the design in order to inform it. As a result of the consultation, the overall number of townhouses was reduced and the development was setback further in areas.

122 Roseneath St. is described as being situated in a "leafy pocket" of Clifton Hill, only 3 km (1.9 mi) from Melbourne's central business district. It is aimed at providing accommodation for a diverse resident community of all ages, with families, friends, pets, bike-lovers and green-thumbs all cited in particular.

The planned development is made up of studio apartments at 38 to 40 sq m, one-bedroom apartments ranging from 45-59 sq m (484-635 sq ft), two-bedroom apartments from 60 to 94 sq m (636-1,012 sq ft) and three-bedroom apartments from 95 to 146 sq m (1,023-1,572 sq ft). Two-bedroom townhouses, meanwhile, will offer 130 sq m (1,399 sq ft), while the three-bedroom townhouses range from 120 to 148 sq m (1,292-1,593 sq ft).

Australian homes, including apartments, are reported to be the largest in the world, with an average size of around 214 sq m (2,304 sq ft). Even if that figure has changed slightly since the CommSec report in 2011, it is still significantly bigger than the size of any of the residences at 122 Roseneath St.

To balance out this relative lack of space, residents will have access to a variety of flexible communal spaces, including a multi-purpose workshop and a communal room with an adjoining terrace, which could be used for dining and entertaining. There will be two raised "linear parks" with drought-resistant native landscaping as well.

In order to make the most of the space that they do have, residents will be able to customize their homes, with the options of standard or premium kitchens, bathrooms and flooring. They will also be able to choose from a variety of extras, such as a children's bath beneath the shower, a "welcome station" for coats, keys and shoes at the front door, ceiling fans, double-layered blinds and a pet door. Residents of townhouses will be able to opt for awnings and roof decks if required.

Among the features that will contribute towards to the sustainability of 122 Roseneath St. are rainwater harvesting, for use in communal gardens, the multi-purpose workshop and toilets, as well as solar panels that will power the development's communal spaces. There will be a shared composting facility, too.

The homes will each have external shutters that allow residents to shade their homes from the sun to reduce reliance on air-conditioning, and high-performance double glazing and insulation. A means of sourcing green energy for residents is also being investigated. Interior finishes will be low in volatile organic compounds that can cause respiratory irritation, nausea and headaches, while access to natural light and a healthy amount of ventilation will be ensured.

The City of Yarra granted the 122 Roseneath St. project a permit in April. Construction is expected to be completed in 2017.

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