The Nicholson

The architectural design for a disused tram depot site combines direct responses to the design principles established from the urban context analysis, with the imperative to create a better quality, affordable housing mixed-use development.

A first principles approach has been used that demonstrates how better quality affordable housing can be developed in parallel with better neighbourhood amenity in a mixed use development. There are 198 apartments and over 1,900m² of commercial and retail space, including a tenancy appropriate for a mini major. A number of the apartments will be funded by the Federal Government’s Nation Building initiative and subsidised under the National Rental Affordable Housing Scheme.

The proposed development aims to provide a bookend to the existing Urban Village, give built form to the gateway function of this precinct, and can provide the catalyst for substantial future improvements to the area. A hierarchy of building forms are created which relate to the scale of the adjoining neighbourhood, and signify the transition from suburban housing to retail and commercial activity. The offset building height promotes access to light and views, and opportunity for greenery without extensive ground level site remediation.

Sustainable design solutions have been fully integrated into the building and landscape design. These range from passive design fundamentals such as maximising winter sun and cross ventilation to other initiatives currently being considered such as greywater reuse and solar hot water panels. A strong emphasis has been placed on the social dimension of sustainability with the introduction of landscaped shared open space and a hierarchy of privacy and access.

The development is being constructed using Unitised Building’s UB System. Each apartment module is manufactured offsite (including interior fitout), and then delivered to site, where they are stacked and bolted together to form the final building. The modular system has the potential to speed up construction time by approximately 50%, whilst significantly reducing local disruption, materials, waste, embodied energy and the carbon footprint.


East Coburg



Urban Development Institute of Australia (Victoria) - Awards for Excellence - Judges Award [Places Victoria]