Breese Street is a lively celebration of liveability, authenticity and, above all, community.
Its future-focused design of 57, one, two and three bedroom apartments, centres around
two small communities coming together as one. And its fully sustainable environment encourages back to basics conversations and cooperation in inviting communal spaces.
Milieu Property and renowned architects DKO and Breathe are the brains trust of like-minded creatives behind this development.
“Breese Street was all about designing a community building that felt like it was in the right spot and had everything that was important for contemporary apartment living, like sustainability,” says Jesse Linardi, Design Director, DKO.
Genuine collaboration and proactivity sets this team apart and has made Breese Street a Brunswick standout.
The journey began with a simple act of community engagement: conducting an online liveability survey, then using responses to influence design and key features and, finally, delivering the end design to the community at an evening presentation. All before a grain of sand was turned.
A fitting initiative for a development that was about encouraging small communities and getting to know your neighbours.
“Ninety percent of residents bought off the plan – so it was nice to bring them together and tell them why we did what we did. We presented our ideas to them so they understood the way the building was designed to function, but they also started to form a community. They had their names and apartment numbers on their shirts, so it’s the idea of getting the community together before the community was even a community, I think that was different and done well,” Jesse reflects.
The result is clever, thoughtful design, and authentic architecture at its best.
To break the building down, DKO designed two cores, each with only five apartments per floor, creating a strong–and intimate–sense of community. What’s more, having two distinct cores meant every apartment has outward-looking living areas, attracting ample light and cross ventilation. Each core has its own lift and staircase, but the two communities come together as one on the rooftop garden, sharing social space and laundry facilities.
From the street, fine grain and materiality abounds, starting with Amber Sand and Chalk Sand bricks and brick tiles, from Robertson’s Building Products, on the ground and podium levels.
“We love using brick where it’s appropriate or contextual, and there are a lot of industrial-type built forms in the area, and a lot of it is brick, so it made a lot of sense to us to try and use bricks but it always comes with a challenge around levels. And from a building perspective, that was one thing we wanted to work hard to get right,” remarks Jesse.
Get it right, Jesse did: Enter Robertson Façade System’s Brick Inlay.
“In Melbourne, you’re lucky to get away with two storeys of brick, so the product you have is really good. It’s a great outcome compared to painted concrete,” explains Jesse.
Using two slightly different brick colours gives a gentle nod to the two different communities within the building, while also references the Brunswick brick colour dotted around the suburb.
Above the podium, robust ribbed concrete panels create beautiful shadowing on the façade from an aesthetic point of view, and reference the sea saw rooves and industrial lineage of the area. On the practical side, they support solar panels and provide shade for barbecues, entertaining areas and quiet nooks on the roof.
Breese Street’s interior design is inspired by other local, sensitively designed projects, and will naturally advocate sustainable living.
The building is fossil free and has a 7.9 NatHERS rating. In fact, DKO and Breathe Architecture worked hard to get the high rating. The whole building is thermally modelled, so there are built in external blinds on western side, small windows, and ceiling fans instead of air conditioners. There’s also recycled timber flooring and carbon neutral bathroom tiles, a communal veggie garden, native plants and a rainwater tank for the garden, as well as a shared rooftop laundry and clothes line, and ample bike parking. The list goes on.
Of course the real proof of success is in the residents’ feedback. And it seems the team has passed with flying colours:
“To go back and see that the people living there are happy with the environmental quality, that’s something we’re most proud of because it’s something that’s actually really hard to do, because it takes a lot of time thinking, modelling and testing … It’s a building designed for daily life in easy synergy with our environment and I think we’ve achieved that,” comments Jesse.
Rewardingly for the team, Breese Street won the Multi-Residential Dwelling Award at the 2021 Sustainability Awards. It has also made the shortlist in four other awards last year: Houses Awards for both Apartment or Unit, and Sustainability; Australia Institute of Architecture (VIC Chapter) for Sustainability; and INDE. Awards 2021 for The Multi-Residential Building.
Miele Property, DKO and Breathe Architecture are to be congratulated for delivering such authentic, sustainable and highly-liveable spaces that centre around community.
Developer: Milieu Property
Architect: DKO Architecture
Interiors: Breathe Architecture
Product: Brick Inlay using Amber Sand and Chalk Sand brick tiles
Precaster: Macquarie Precast
Photographer: Tom Ross