The $17 million Fortitude Valley development provides homes for singles and couples that are either homeless or at risk of becoming so, while its bottom two floors feature a range of support providers and facilities. The 10-storey urban oasis was also shortlisted at the prestigious 2014 World Architecture Festival (WAF) awards, meaning it is one of the top 15 examples of affordable housing in the world.
Originally an old Brisbane City Council depot, the structure was created in 2010 by leading not-for-profit housing provider BHC and renowned architects Cox Rayner. Cox Rayner Architects Principal Michael Rayner said what is special about the building was a response to the uninspiring affordable housing designs he has seen become the norm in the past two decades.
Green Square narrowly missed out at the WAF awards on Friday to a Norwegian high-rise, however the development has already received a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects National award and a commendation for sustainable architecture.
The building features 10 individual studio and one-bedroom apartments on each of its eight residential levels. Crafted natural timber finishes were used, while the ends of the central space were kept open and part of the roof peeled back to expose the units to the atrium. There are communal areas that contain cooking and laundry facilities, however residents can also use facilities in their apartments for these tasks, giving them a choice between interaction and more privacy. Hanging gardens and eco-smart initiatives such as a giant rainwater tank, water-efficient appliances and bike facilities top off the architectural gem.
BHC CEO David Cant said Green Square may now become a model for affordable housing design in Australia. “We know that well-designed buildings can create a sense of community. “The Green Square housing model supports this philosophy by balancing a need for privacy with communal living and enabling trust to evolve gradually.”
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