Innovative Design Meets Sustainability in Pascoe Vale’s Latest Housing Project


In the bustling pocket of Pascoe Vale, Melbourne, R ARCHITECTURE has designed an award winning residential development that balances practicality, aesthetics, and affordability. This project, recently recognised in the Architecture – Multi Residential – Constructed category at the 2023 Better Future Awards, was commissioned by an established developer consortium. Requiring a fresh perspective on housing design to meet the expectations of a diverse resident demographic, this project makes a mark in the local property market.

Reimagining small footprint living

At its core, this project reimagines small footprint terrace housing, a historically significant typology in Melbourne. It embraces confident forms that protect internal amenity within a close-knit buildscape. The use of hardy materials draws inspiration from its semi-industrial surroundings, to create an enduring aesthetic.

The design relies on simple rectilinear pavilions with strategically positioned windows and doors, reducing visual bulk while providing views and privacy. Each dwelling boasts its own street access and courtyard, with generous balconies extending the liveable space and fostering a connection to the lively neighbourhood. Overhangs offer shade to encourage outdoor engagement.

Thoughtful Interior Design

Inside, compact yet generous living spaces maximise daylight and cross-flow ventilation while mitigating street noise. Living and kitchen areas extend onto terraces, visually expanding the space while maintaining a sense of cosiness. Dedicated study spaces support flexible post-COVID work. Upper-level floor plates cover and frame terraces, allowing for increased outdoor use and shading living spaces below from the summer sun.

Meeting Complex Requirements

The project’s multi-residential nature presented challenges, including site constraints and council requirements. With a modest 680sqm corner site, strict setbacks, a drainage easement, and the need for site access, the team faced spatial limitations. Yet, through innovative design, we achieved four townhouses with three and four-bedroom layouts. The 3-storey form was carefully broken up, featuring large balconies, raked roof forms, and cantilevers to maintain a clean architectural form.

Noise Management and Sustainability

The corner location posed noise challenges from busy Bell Street, but through collaboration with our acoustic consultant and thoughtful design, we managed noise levels without compromising indoor-outdoor fluidity.

Sustainability played a pivotal role, aligning with an environmentally conscious design ethos. Prioritising ‘must haves’ over ‘nice to haves’ reduced building costs and the resource footprint. Solar heated water and rain gardens were incorporated, along with shading features and operable windows for effective ventilation and thermal management.

A Greener, Affordable Future

In embracing small footprint living and sourcing local finishes, the project minimised its carbon footprint. These measures not only benefit the environment but also make the homes more affordable for buyers, with lower maintenance and energy costs. Nearby parks extend outdoor spaces, fostering socialising among residents. 

The Pascoe Vale project by R ARCHITECTURE sets a new standard for modern, sustainable, and affordable housing in Melbourne. As the proponent of the Pascoe Vale Terraces says, “R ARCHITECTURE were there every step of the way. They delivered excellent products on two projects. Great work standards and well-priced.”

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