Just over 2 years ago, Small Giants embarked on the ambitious task of building one of the most sustainable residential developments in Australia. Today, Small Giants has handed over the eco-apartments to the new residents – ready for the new owners to build upon the foundations of this inner-city, vertical eco-village. The Commons is home to just 24 apartments, along with two artist studios, a cafe and retail space. All of the apartments were sold prior to the completion of construction and all purchasers were eager to settle and move in before Christmas. The café space is currently being fit-out and is expected to open in early 2014.
This striking building, with its copper and ironbark clad façade, was designed by local Brunswick architects Breathe Architecture. The Commons was meticulously built by Kubic Constructions who appreciated and responded positively to the bespoke nature of the job. Their attention to detail and willingness to explore alternative construction methods and finishes shines through in many aspects of the building.
The proximity of The Commons to public transport is critical to the overall sustainability of the development. Uniquely, there are no car spaces allocated to the residences of The Commons – residents share the 65 bike spaces located in a secure garage and share the GoGet car parked directly out the front of the building in Florence Street. Being only 6km from the CBD and a short walk to the Sydney Road shops, the luxury of a personal car space is not critical to enjoying the lifestyle that The Commons presents.
The sustainability features do not end with the various transport options. Other ESD features include:
- Double-glazed, and thermally broken windows and balcony doors throughout – including locally made timber sliding doors by Binq;
- Recycled timber flooring and feature wall salvaged from demolished houses and schools around Victoria specifically sourced by Small Giants during the course of construction;
- Exposed concrete ceilings and structural columns to provide thermal mass to the apartments. This thermal mass, along with extra insulation and ceiling fans, ensures that no air-conditioning is required in the apartments;
- Raw and toxic free finishes to tapware, door handles and joinery ensuring that the indoor air quality is as optimal as possible for residents.
However, the highlight of The Commons is the extensive green roof with sweeping CBD views. The productive garden has 46 raised vegetable boxes – locally manufactured in Brunswick by Future Environment Garden Builders. These boxes provide ample space for residents to grow and share their own produce. The green roof also features an “intensive green roof” featuring hardy native plants that filter stormwater run-off from the building and act as an insulating blanket on the apartments below. This area also provides for a sensational entertaining deck.
Small Giants is proud to have delivered this landmark project and to have raised the sustainable living benchmark in Australia. It is now the blueprint for future inner-city residential developments, including Oxford & Peel – a Small Giants project currently being marketed in Collingwood (www.oxfordandpeel.com.au)