Heller Street Park and Residences, by Six Degrees Architects, consists of a public park and ten townhouses in inner suburban Melbourne. It is built on what was originally a clay pit, then a rubbish dump and, most recently, a council depot.
Soil excavated during construction was mounded up on the site to raise the park area, providing privacy from the street for the three-storey townhouses that overlook it. The houses have minimal private outdoor space, given that they front onto the public park; instead residents are encouraged to participate in the wider development through community gardens and shared common space. The mature trees on the site were retained and further native plantings were added.
Each individual house has four bedrooms and is designed for a young family. Passive heating and cooling are provided by the thermal mass of the living room floor slab, plenty of insulation, double-glazed windows, cross ventilation and the extraction of air through a skylight above the stairs. There are solar panels and rainwater collection facilities on each roof.
The project won awards for sustainable architecture and residential architecture at the 2012 Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards in November. Simon Taylor Landart was the landscape architecture firm on the project.