The one-hectare Docklands site, developed by Ashe Morgan, will create an ‘urban village’ lifestyle, rich in amenities and spaces for community connection. The project will provide village living for over 900 apartments across three towers surrounding a central plaza. The precinct combines community, commerce and recreation, providing residents with access to a multitude of shared facilities and leisure spaces adjacent to local retail, public transport and Melbourne’s CBD. 

With more than 67 per cent of Docklands’ residents already renting, District Living has been designed to cater for both working professionals and families who want to be closer to Docklands Primary School. 

Simon Topliss.

Warren and Mahoney Principal, Simon Topliss, says the project will be critical in the evolution of the Docklands as a desirable and highly-liveable inner Melbourne suburb. Designed with the notion of creating a vibrant urban village, it will demonstrate the potential of the build-to-rent sector to foster strong and resilient communities.

“The build-to-rent model creates an ideal setting for connection,” says Topliss. “The quarter-acre section is no longer the reality for many Australian families, but a sense of community can still be achieved through this project’s generosity of shared amenities.”

AsheMorgan development director, Mat Stoddart, says the project aims to create an intergenerational ecosystem: “We wanted to understand not just demographics groups likely to live at District Living, but to consider how these people are going to live their lives. And it was our intention to join the dots between the needs of future audiences and the character of the amenity. Because while this project addresses Melbourne’s housing supply shortage, at the heart of the design is a desire to truly enhance social connections and experiences by creating a true village feel.”

Topliss says District Docklands is also intended to foster a sense of inclusion within diversity: “Through design, District Living provides residents increased opportunities to meet and mingle comfortably with neighbours from all different backgrounds and family types.”

Related: Susanne Pine comments on build-to-rent

This project has also been imagined through a ‘wellness lens’ with more than 6500 square metres of shared spaces for activity, fun and movement. They include community kitchens and dining spots, dog-walking areas and multigenerational play outdoor spaces. “District Living is also adjacent to the Capital City Trail, a 29.6km circuit linking all of Melbourne’s most loved inner-city suburbs,” adds Topliss.

In contrast, a focused indoor working environment – known as The Studio – will provide renters the office they may not have within their apartments. “Quiet working spaces provide a place residents can work remotely but outside of their immediate living space.”

The addition of a new pedestrian connection via an extension to St Mangos Lane will connect the central plaza and Little Docklands Drive for a notable entry to the precinct: “This connection creates a finer grain at street level, and creates valuable opportunities for an engaging retail plaza interface that only adds to the neighbourhood,” says Topliss.

In terms of the three three residential towers’ aesthetics, Topliss says massing and materiality has been developed to create a coherent precinct – but one that still provides the some of the visual diversity that defines inner-city areas.  

The designers also state that the build will incorporate efficient and high-performing utilities as well as respect for Country. The project will be all-electric and is targeting a 7.5 NatHERS rating.

Warren and Mahoney

Renders coutesy of Warren and Mahoney

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