11-13 Oct 2021
Darling Harbour, ICC SYDNEY

Nightingale 1 brings utopian living to Brunswick

Jul 16, 2018 Architecture

Early this year saw the successful launch of Nightingale Housing’s Nightingale 1, in Melbourne’s Brunswick.

Nightingale 1 was conceived back 2014 by Breathe Architecture. After the success of neighbouring award-winning sustainable development 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.

The architects developed the model and this project with people at the heart. 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.

Challenging the current status quo, that primarily aims to deliver buildings with maximum financial yields rather than focusing on the people who will live there, Breathe engaged purchasers from the early stages, allowing the building to be designed completely with the end user in mind.

The ground floor of Nightingale is about creating engagement between the residents and the street, while reaching out to the wider Brunswick community. Seating nooks and a semi-public laneway to the heart of the building activate the ground floor.

Key Design Elements

Nightingale 1’s design is a simple reflection of Brunswick’s industrial heritage. The steel-framed winter gardens respond to traditional warehouse characteristics while its recycled cream brick responds to the single storey single brick warehouses that once populated the vicinity.

Lined with a tapestry of recycled brickwork, the cobblestone entry is signposted with hand painted signage.

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 exposed services. The northern apartments look out through a shipping chain screen, providing the framework for deciduous grape vines to occupy.

Nightingale stairway

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.


Nightingale is the first building in the country to be connected under an embedded network that is 100 percent fossil fuel-free. It is carbon neutral in its operation – no gas.

We designed the building, the electrical reticulation, the owners corporation rules and the embedded network and metering systems and the metering and sharing of the solar so that every Nightingale resident receives 100 percent green power.

What’s next for Nightingale? 

The latest news from the group is the launch of Nightingale Village, which takes the community-based concept even further. It’s a future precinct comprising a series of buildings by seven talented architects using the same sustainability principles of the Nightingale model. Located on Duckett Street, also in Brunswick, it will culminate in another completely smart, innovative and livable approach to housing.

Story credit: Architecture & Design 

Source: https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/projects/mixed-use/nightingale-building-melbourne

This article was originally published by Architecture & Design, media partner of DesignBUILD.

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