Amid the evolving urban landscapes, housing stands as a cornerstone issue, grappling with affordability and the balance of planning and designing in burgeoning cities. Through Indesign channels, we have covered stories and listened to various industry voices speak of the multifaceted crises surrounding housing; these archive pieces shed light on innovative projects tackling urban density – navigating the nuanced terrain of housing and its implications on our collective future.

Contemporary terraces and the future of urban density

In a city where the landscape is dominated by detached houses, Ashbury Terraces stand as a thought-provoking anomaly. Developed by Coronation Property and designed by SJB, this project challenges the traditional notions of residential architecture. Located between inner-city units and sprawling suburban bungalows, Ashbury Terraces raises questions about the future of Australian cities and offers a (potential) solution to the pressing problems faced by modern cities. As a hybrid of contemporary terraces and unit blocks, the model redefines the local built environment and prompts reflection on issues of housing justice, market inequality, sustainability and urban aesthetics.

8 thought-provoking stories about housing and its multiple crises

Tackling housing density on the Victorian Architecture Awards shortlist

Nightingale Village – located on the shortlist for the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Architecture Awards – was among the projects vying for recognition in multiple categories and represents the collective effort of several prominent architecture firms, including Austin Maynard Architects. Their contribution, ParkLife, garnered attention for its design prowess and sparked conversations about the future of housing density in Australian cities. As the housing crisis intersects with pressing issues such as climate change, affordability and mental health, the need for thoughtful urban planning becomes paramount. ParkLife poses a solution, advocating for mid-density alternatives that break away from the conventional suburban landscape while prioritising communal well-being.

8 thought-provoking stories about housing and its multiple crises
Photograph by Tom Ross.

What inspired us about the Scandinavian housing model?

Plus Architecture’s case study of the Scandinavian housing model, as highlighted by Patric Przeradzki, reveals valuable insights that can be adapted to address the pressing challenges faced by Australian cities. From their recent tour of standout examples in cities like Copenhagen and Oslo, it is evident that the Scandinavian approach is built upon holistic design principles centred around social and cultural considerations. This approach has led to the design of inclusive communities where residents of diverse backgrounds can have a higher quality of life and stronger community connections. As Australian cities grapple with issues ranging from housing affordability to sustainability, the Scandinavian model serves as a roadmap for fostering healthier, safer and more cohesive residential environments.

8 thought-provoking stories about housing and its multiple crises

NSW AIA criticises the state’s Affordable Housing Strategy

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) NSW Chapter, under the leadership of President Adam Haddow, has raised significant concerns around the NSW Affordable Housing Strategy proposed by the Minns Government. While acknowledging the government’s efforts to tackle housing scarcity, the AIA recognises potential pitfalls in the legislation that could inadvertently benefit developers financially over 15 years. The Institute argues for permanent affordable housing measures managed by registered non-profits to prevent potential corruption and mismanagement. They advocate for a restriction on development approval times to deter land banking practices, proposing a five-year limit for development consent on projects.

8 thought-provoking stories about housing and its multiple crises
Lane Cove House by SAHA, photograph by Saskia Wilson.

The magic of Nightingale – the multi-res building that just keeps giving

Designed collaboratively by renowned firms such as Architecture firms – such as Austin Maynard Architects, Breathe, Clare Cousins Architects, Hayball and Kennedy Nolan – this project located in Brunswick, Victoria, stands as a paradigm shift in sustainable urban development. Partnering with Bosch in the Multi-Residential Building category is representative of Nightingale’s commitment to the practice of design and functionality. Recognised by the 2023 INDE.Awards jury for its outstanding contribution to architectural design and liveability, Nightingale Village stands as a testament to the power of collective creativity and sustainable principles in shaping the future of residential living. As the jury aptly puts it, “Nightingale Village is a true leader of design… This is great architecture that enhances the lives of people.”

2023 INDE.Awards winner

Pritzker Prize-winning architects Lacaton & Vassal launch Sydney exhibition

‘Living in the City’ was an exhibition curated by acclaimed architects Lacaton & Vassal, that exemplifies urban housing and its intersection with pressing societal and environmental issues. Hosted at the Tin Sheds Gallery within the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, this exposition showcases democratic architecture and its potential to address contemporary challenges. Reflecting on Lacaton and Vassal’s Pritzker Prize-winning ethos, which highlights the improvement of lives through responsive design, ‘Living in the City’ invites visitors to contemplate solutions to climatic, ecological and social urgencies in urban housing. As part of the Garry and Susan Rothwell Chair in Architectural Design Leadership, the exhibition marks the culmination of three years of intensive research and teaching, offering insights gleaned from the French architects’ visit to Sydney and a series of associated lectures and events.

8 thought-provoking stories about housing and its multiple crises

AI, Tokyo Metabolism and the city of the future

As we navigate the complexities of the present and envision the future of our cities, the rise of artificial intelligence looms large on the horizon. Against the backdrop of technological advancement and pressing environmental crises, questions arise about how AI will shape the urban landscapes of tomorrow. Looking at the urban planning of cities like Tokyo as a precedent – with its radical concepts such as Metabolism in response to past challenges – we find the potential trajectory of AI-driven urban development. Metabolism envisioned cities as decentralised networks, characterised by adaptability and fluidity, akin to the interconnectedness of digital technologies.

8 thought-provoking stories about housing and its multiple crises
Kenzō Tange, Tokyo Bay Plan 1960.

Three Canberra architects on lessons from history for a planned city

The planned history of Canberra shares valuable insights into the future of urban planning and architecture. Through conversations with three architects practising in the city, we speak about Canberra’s design philosophy and its enduring influence on contemporary urban development. Conceived just over a century ago by Walter Burley Griffin, Canberra’s design ethos, rooted in the garden city movement, remains a testament to the integration of landscape and topography in urban planning. For architects working in Canberra today, inheriting this rich tradition brings a sense of pride and responsibility, as they navigate the city’s ongoing evolution towards compactness and enhanced connectivity. As Canberra serves as a living case study for the complexities of large-scale planning and adaptation, it offers invaluable lessons for addressing pressing urban challenges worldwide, from climate change to housing affordability.

8 thought-provoking stories about housing and its multiple crises
Yamaroshi in Mort Street, Braddon by Judd Studio, photograph by Brett Boardman.

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