K2 Apartments

Setting new benchmarks in ecological and social sustainability in medium-density public housing, the K2 Apartments project was an initiative of the Victorian Office of Housing, where DesignInc Melbourne won the open competition to deliver its exemplar scheme.

At a civic scale, its objectives were to minimise greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy consumption, maximise recycled materials and sustainable finishes, and provide healthy homes. To achieve this, we designed the complex of 96 apartments to function as a living system.

Its four interconnected buildings use passive and active environmental design strategies to maximise daylight access, summer cooling, winter warmth and natural ventilation. A ‘green spine’ of public and private gardens through the site encourages community among residents, and a positive urban identity. 

The project was dubbed Australia’s most environmentally sustainable public housing by the Victorian Government, and won a string of design and sustainability awards.

  • CLIENT

    Department of Human Services, Victoria (Office of Housing)

  • LOCATION

    Windsor, Victoria

  • YEAR

    2007

  • SCALE

    4,800 sqm

  • VALUE

    $32.4 million

  • PROJECT LEADERSHIP
    Stephen Webb
  • PHOTOGRAPHY

    Peter Hyatt
    David Wierzbowski
    Michael Silver
    Martin Saunders 

When you take the approach, as we do, that the built environment can be an extension of the natural world, not just an adjunct to it, you find exciting possibilities everywhere.

Stephen Webb, Design Director 113_stephen-webb.jpg

About 150 people live in the K2 Apartments, in 40 one-bedroom and 56 two-bedroom units.

Each of its four buildings orients east-west, with heights calibrated for maximum winter sun access. Façade and roof pods are profiled and angled to optimise solar panel placement and shade the levels below.

Equipped with rainwater harvesting, grey water reuse, solar water heating and photovoltaic panels for power, compared to a standard apartment, each K2 Apartment uses:

  • 55 per cent less mains electricity
  • 46 per cent less mains gas
  • 53 per cent less mains water

K2 Apartments were designed as a healthy environment for tenants. Pedestrians have priority over cars, and the site is close to public transport and the CBD. Of the 96 apartments, 49 are designed for increased accessibility.

Department of Human Services, Victoria

Richard Stafford

Managing DirectorAdelaide

Richard Stafford

Managing DirectorAdelaide
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Stephen Webb

Design DirectorMelbourne

Stephen Webb

Design DirectorMelbourne
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Daniel Walton

PrincipalPerth

Daniel Walton

PrincipalPerth
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Rohan Wilson

DirectorMelbourne

Rohan Wilson

DirectorMelbourne
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Christon Batey-Smith

DirectorMelbourne

Christon Batey-Smith

DirectorMelbourne
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Sandeep Amin

Managing DirectorSydney

Sandeep Amin

Managing DirectorSydney
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Anthony Quan

DirectorSydney

Anthony Quan

DirectorSydney
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Sally Brincat

Senior AssociateMelbourne

Sally Brincat

Senior AssociateMelbourne
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Heidi Lee

Associate Strategic ProjectsMelbourne

Heidi Lee

Associate Strategic ProjectsMelbourne
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Jane Sayers

Associate, DesignMelbourne

Jane Sayers

Associate, DesignMelbourne
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Cameron Smith

AssociateMelbourne

Cameron Smith

AssociateMelbourne
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Michelle Harris

AssociateMelbourne

Michelle Harris

AssociateMelbourne
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Richard Does

DirectorSydney

Richard Does

DirectorSydney
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