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Tarakan Street Housing

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Tarakan Street Housing

Bird de la Coeur Architects, NH Architecture and Openwork+Tract have worked collaboratively on 130 zero-gas dwellings rehabilitating a large government owned site in West Heidelberg for Homes Victoria.

Tarakan Street is the redevelopment of the former 1956 Olympic Village into a connected residential and community neighbourhood. Funded under the Victorian Government’s Big Housing Build, it comprises 130 tenure-blind social and affordable homes spread across three buildings, arranged around valued existing trees and set within a new, generous garden.

The scale responds to the neighbourhood setting with a cluster of two-storey townhouses at the northern end of the block, a three-storey apartment building and a six-storey apartment building to the south abutting an institutional neighbour.

The buildings are carefully arranged in a garden setting of established canopy trees, allowing views and access to green open spaces to enhance resident well-being. These landscaped areas provide varying degrees of privacy, with semi-private community gardens available to residents, and small public parks with a playground and barbeque facilities which invite the local neighbours into the site. Perimeter fences have been removed and a 'cut through' path to the neighbouring primary school is provided.

The history of the site is honoured through the retention of twenty mature canopy trees planted during the establishment of the Olympic Village. Their scale, shade, habitat and memory endure. The locally made light brickwork provides a backdrop for their beautiful shadows and unifies the three buildings.

We’ve adopted an architecture of quiet calmness, which is robust and extremely low maintenance. Each floor is arrangements so that there is a low number of apartments per entry, enabling small communities to flourish within the precinct.

The apartments are wide and shallow making them comfortable and efficient, affording increased access to natural light, ventilation and balcony space. The apartment buildings adopted a ‘long life loose fit’ structural arrangement with narrow floor plates. The apartments are innovatively designed for post-construction flexibility to accommodate and adapt to the changing needs of residents without the need to modify kitchens and bathrooms.

The project prioritised Melbourne-made beautiful materials and fittings, generating huge savings on carbon in transport. Bricks are Melbourne made, all joinery in the apartments was built in Heidelberg just one kilometre away from the site, and the specialist lights, taps and carpets are manufactured by small local businesses.

All the dwellings achieve a minimum average NatHERS rating of 7 stars and the development as a whole meets requirements for a Certified Green Star for new Buildings rating of at least 5 stars. All dwellings are accessible to  Silver Standard (LHA) while 5% of social housing is fully Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant.

Completed: 2023

Country: Wurundjeri

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  • AIA Victoria 2024 Residential Architecture Multiple Housing, Shortlist
  • AIA Victoria 2024 Urban Design, Shortlist


NH Architecture - lead Architect


WRAP Engineering

Taylor Thomas Whitting - TTW Engineering

BESIX Watpac

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