K2 Apartments

K2 Apartments is a 96 unit housing development that sets a new benchmark in ecologically sustainable, medium density public housing.

The K2 Apartments project was initiated by the Victorian Office of Housing and designed by DesignInc Melbourne architects in response to an open competition.

The primary objectives of the project sought to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, and to maximise use of reusable and recycled materials.

The K2 Apartments have been designed to combine a healthy building and environment. Social, economic and natural aspects of sustainability have been regarded as equally important.

Access to landscape, indoor air quality, natural ventilation and the provision of a variety of communal spaces combine to achieve a socially responsible development.

Four connected buildings are located on the 4800m2 site. The buildings are oriented to allow for maximum northern sun exposure, and are placed to allow a series of public and private courtyard spaces for the tenants.

The height of the four buildings and the distance between the front and back pairs has been carefully calculated to ensure that all units receive northern sun all year round.

The four buildings are linked by a 'Green Spine' that is designed to emphasise community awareness amongst tenants and promote the sustainable functions of the building.

The north facades combine balconies with solid bedroom walls while south walls integrate privacy screens with circulation.

The facade and roof were angled for the best possible solar panel placement and also to provide shading to the levels below.

Insulation, double glazing and shading enable minimal heat loss and gain. The extensive exposed thermal mass provides internal stable temperatures.

Summer Mode
Dwellings are designed to allow cross ventilation to enable cooling. The facade design and orientation minimises the effects of direct sunlight. Exposed concrete ceilings and heavy masonry walls facilitate stable temperatures. Minimal daytime ventilation can allow for the retention and radiation of stored cool air. At night time, any build up of warm air can be released through open windows and exhaust fans.

Winter Mode
Exposed concrete ceilings and masonry walls help to provide stable temperatures and reduce heating needs.

Double glazed windows retain heat and the limited window areas on the south, east and west reduce potential heat loss. Well insulated and sealed construction also keeps heat losses to a minimum. Individual windows ensure fresh air can be introduced in a relatively draught free manner.



Department of Human Services, Office of Housing


2009 UN World Environment Day Awards, Building Commission Award for Best Sustainable Residential Development

2009 Asia Pacific Property Awards, Architecture (multiple – over 5 residences)

2008 Colonial First State Global Asset Management Environmental Development Award, Australian Property Institute, Victoria

2008 AIA Joseph Reed Award for Urban Design (Victoria)

2007 Australian Institute of Building Awards (Victoria), Professional Excellence Award in the Residential Construction $10m to $50m category

2007 City of Port Phillip Design Development Awards, Best Contribution to Sustainable Design, Large Scale

2007 City of Port Phillip Design Development Awards, Mayor’s Award