Our approach to affordable housing, featuring Wilson Avenue

Creating affordable housing projects that offer comfort, cohesion and enhanced community spirit is a design value that our team takes very seriously. One key consideration, says, Genton Principal, Steven Toia, is equality, and when it comes to Wilson Avenue, Brunswick, that connection to equality is evident in the designs, that include a shared orientation and outlook, as well as equitable access to natural light, ventilation and privacy.

When our designs were first revealed, coinciding with the announcement of the Victorian Government’s $4.29 million contribution to the project via the Victorian Property Fund, a focus on environmentally-friendly and sustainable living was a critical component. Targeting a 7.5-star NAHERS rating, 100% of the apartments are designed with cross-ventilation, and are finished with hardy, low-maintenance materials that ensure the ongoing reduction of costs. In lieu of car parking, the well-connected high-amenity site also includes extensive bike parking and storage.

The seven-storey development comprises 16 apartments that will become homes to low-income households and, by sharing amenities such as the rooftop garden, laundry facilities and greenhouse, the building offers a variety of opportunities for the community to come together in ways that are friendly, positive and practical.

‘The fact that all residents can enjoy a similar level of quality and amenity is paramount,’ says Genton Principal, Marc Debney.

For affordable housing to be successful, buildings must be well-built and robust, with less need for ongoing maintenance and lower running costs for residents who, typically, live in these buildings long-term.

‘The human side of this economic sustainability,’ says Marc, ‘is a need to create housing that is also enjoyable, with moments that are fun and unexpected. In Wilson Avenue, large lightwells and open stairs allow for natural ventilation and communal courtyard spaces make these comfortable to move through and spend time in.’

Laying the foundations for the strength of a shared, connected and sustainable community is a vision we have embraced with passion. The orientation of balconies and glazing encourages a strong connection to the ground-level public open space, with planters and greenery that will eventually grow up the building elevations. By creating homes that enable residents to enjoy their outdoor space, as well as their interiors, it enables all people living here to feel a genuine connection to the community they are part of – and, importantly, have easy access to all the facilities and amenities at their doorstep.

Our entire Genton team is proud to be involved in designing affordable housing with a difference – a project that has been undertaken in conjunction with developer and operator, Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL). With affordable housing considered a core element of a democratic community, we approached Wilson Avenue as an opportunity to create an Architecture that is truly welcoming, practical and comfortable – three key ingredients that make a building a home.