Tarakan Street social and affordable housing

NH has worked alongside Bird de la Coeur Architects and Openwork to understand the complex requirements for this housing program on a large, government owned site in West Heidelberg.

The Tarakan Street Social and Affordable Housing project is part of the Big Housing Build, a Victorian Government program investing $5.3 billion to deliver over 12,000 new homes for people who need them.

The development comprises 130 dwellings in total, made up of a combination of social and affordable housing and spread across three buildings: a cluster of townhouses at the northern end of the block, a three-storey apartment building and a six-storey apartment building to the south.

Homes Victoria
Project partners
Bird de la Coeur Architects, Openwork+Tract
West Heidelberg
Traditional Country
Dianna Snape

We’ve arranged the buildings in this housing development within a landscape fabric, orienting them to allow views and access to green open spaces for all the residents. These landscaped areas provide varying degrees of privacy, with semi-private community gardens that are only available to residents, and small public parks with playground and barbeque facilities which can be accessed by the local neighbourhood.

Maintaining as many of the existing Spotted Gum trees as possible was essential to the landscape strategy and planning of the site. These established trees will shade the open areas and frame the semi-private and publicly accessible landscape spaces.

We’ve designed the buildings to be both attractive and robust, with resident experience at the centre of all decision making. We set out the floor plates and core arrangements so that there will be a low number of keys per entry with the intention of enabling small communities to flourish within the precinct. It was important to ensure that the social and affordable apartments could be ‘tenure blind’ to minimise social stratification.

While the arrangement and size of the windows and the brick construction responds to the suburban context, the apartment buildings are intended to act as a civic anchor for the neighborhood through the scale and treatment of the entrances.

We found an innovative solution to address the common design challenge of providing both privacy and outlook to ground floor apartments, using a wedge-shaped landscape berm to provide a landscape buffer between the private outdoor space and the public realm. These apartments are also fitted with operable, shuttered privacy screens.

The apartments themselves are designed to be as comfortable and efficient as possible, with wide, shallow footprints to allow increased access to natural light and ventilation. We’ve planned the apartments for post-construction flexibility to accommodate and adapt to the changing needs of residents.

All the dwellings will achieve a minimum average NatHERS rating of seven stars and the development as a whole will meet requirements for at least a five-star Green Star rating. Five per cent of social housing in the development will be fully Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant.