First interstate Nightingale planned for Fremantle

The first-ever interstate Nightingale project has found its home in Fremantle, WA. EHDO Architecture and Fini Sustainability are helming the approximately 15-apartment development for which a planning permit was granted earlier this year – notably, in a council committee meeting in which approval was granted within 45 seconds.

The mixed-use project will feature 270-square-metres of commercial space, plus a large communal area on the roof in the tradition of its recently-completed, multi award-winning Melbourne sibling, Nightingale 1. The mastermind behind the Nightingale model and founding director of Breathe Architecture, Jeremy McLeod is excited to have another project added to the brood. “We’re like proud parents watching our baby grow and mature,” he shared.

“It’s so good to see quality Australian architects like EHDO working with Nightingale to help solve housing issues over three thousand kilometres away.”

Pragmatism has emerged as a defining characteristic of Nightingale architecture, and the Fremantle incarnation is no exception. The architects explain that central to this design was a mandate to combat the ‘bad rap’ of multi-res developments. “Our initial impulse in approaching this project was to show by example that it was possible to produce a mixed-use apartment building that had environmental considerations at the heart of its existence while still being affordable and design-focused,” elaborates director of EHDO Architecture, Dimitri Kapetas.

“We aim to show the benefits of communal living combined with commercial tenancies. A constant focus while designing this project has been on how to ensure that tenants can be and feel private when they need to, yet still be part of a shared, active community.”

In this design, EHDO Architecture has set out to convince families that the prescribed suburban blocks with large gardens needn’t be the norm. To that end, extensive gardens and landscaping are integrated throughout the development. Meanwhile, the shared roof level invites tenants to engage with one another by offering shared utility spaces, productive gardens and a communal kitchen replete with an entertaining area and kids’ play space.

Dimitri explains that the Commons and Nightingale 1 have served as reference points for the project. “The feedback … is that these areas are heavily used and appreciated by the tenants and provide the opportunities for the casual, unplanned interactions between neighbours that help to build community.”

Naturally, the touchstone of EHDO Nightingale Fremantle is sustainability. Development manager, Fini Sustainability has lent a hand in this department. Don Fini shares that this project was ambitious from the outset. “EHDO Architecture and Fini Sustainability decided to exceed Nightingale’s minimum NatHERS rating of 7.5 stars. We went about this by selecting reverse brick veneer as our preferred external wall construction, double-glazing and good passive solar design.”

“Our NatHERS rating ranges from 8.7 to 10 stars, with an average of 9.5,” Don explains. This impressive feat is achieved in part by highly thoughtful design. For example, every apartment has access to north light in winter for solar gain and features ample cross ventilation courtesy of the ‘Fremantle doctor’.

Jeremy McLeod attests, saying: “The energy ratings are through the roof. This is set to be highest-rated Nightingale to date.”

As well as proposing a grey water system to serve ground-floor gardens and verges and rainwater harvesting for rooftop gardens, EHDO Nightingale Fremantle will be equipped with a 20-kW solar PV array with the option to add a further 30kW down the track.

“We have also looked at reducing the embodied energy of the project by recycling the bricks and concrete from the demolition of the existing building, and used life cycle analysis to assist in selecting some of our building materials,” Don adds.

And of course, EHDO Nightingale Fremantle includes the characteristic pursuit of economic empowerment – the project is exploring how body corporate can reduce tenants’ runnings costs by being an income-generating entity and commercial tenancies on the ground floor will be approved by the tenants.

If the Nightingale model is turning the tide for Australian apartment living, consider EHDO Nightingale Fremantle at the crest of the wave. Summarises Dimitri: “We want EHDO Nightingale Fremantle to represent a genuine environmental and social commitment. A project that is a truly positive inclusion to the community and something that helps to reframe the public conception of apartment living in Australia.”

The Nightingale Fremantle community is currently in the making. Select apartments are still available and interested purchasers can contact Nightingale Housing to register their interest via [email protected]

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