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Redefining the ‘Australian Dream’ with inner-city housing

by Briony Darcy

Forget the quarter-acre block – Australians are moving back the city

Arising out of the popularity of urban living, and as a reaction to the high house prices that have followed the decrease in supply, especially in urban districts, architects are looking for new solutions to cater for an increasing variety of people choosing to own a home in the city. 

Shopfront conversions

Tucked away on street corners, or hidden on old shopping strips are little gems. Old shopfronts are ripe for redevelopment, as they are often on a parcel of land perfect for a compact home. Part of the original facade of this shopfront is still visible from the street but a beautiful, cosy home designed by Index Architecture has been created beyond.

Shopfront redevelopments 

This shopfront design by Archsign has been redeveloped to create three new townhouses in Melbourne. The original facade has been retained and built over with a new first storey. The benefit? There is no wasted land. The developer could build right on the street perimeter, based on a zero-setback precedent set by the original shop build.

Townhouse developments

Increased density situated on a large allotment was the key to the success of this project. Originally, there was only a single house standing on this 1700-square-metre Melbourne plot. Situated on busy Burke Road, Hawthorn, with public transport at its doorstep, it was identified as an excellent opportunity for redevelopment. The property now contains nine dwellings, offering lots of householders the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of inner-city living.

View the most popular Australian home designs on Houzz

Warehouse conversions

Another opportunity architects capitalise on is redundant buildings that can be converted with a new purpose. Existing large windows create great opportunity for light to flood the interior while very high ceilings provide a volume that can incorporate mezzanine spaces into the design.

Find an architect to help you create your home in the city

Factory conversions

A factory conversion of a redundant building is one more way to encourage greater diversity of housing stock as well as a way for more people to live closer to work, so that they can take advantage of all the benefits of inner-city living. Interventions such as this, however, require planning laws and regulations that support considered architectural design of the house or housing units.

See more industrial-style homes

High-rise developments

These green leafy Skyhomes, designed by DE atelier Architects, were inspired by the concept of a tree-lined vertical street. With a single apartment per level, it is akin in size and amenity to 13 single family homes, each on a 650-square-metre block. The innovative concept provides a garden aspect to every apartment on every level.