It’s not often that we have the opportunity to feature social housing projects, but Anne Street Garden Villas sets a new welcomed bench mark. Consisting of a series of 7 social housing dwellings in Southport on the Gold Coast, the design was informed by ideas from our Density and Diversity Done Well Open Idea Competition entry, as well as stakeholder workshops and local social housing design reviews.
Anne Street Garden Villas is one of ten social housing demonstration project being delivered by a collaborative partnership between Housing Partnerships Office, Building Asset Services and the Office of the Queensland Government Architect. The demonstration projects will inform the new design guidelines for future social housing in Queensland.
TO CREATE LIVEABLE, FORWARD-THINKING SOCIAL HOUSING, WE WERE ENCOURAGED TO CHALLENGE CONVENTIONS OF SOCIAL HOUSING AND EMPLOY SMALL DESIGN MOVES THAT WE THOUGHT COULD HAVE A BIG IMPACT – ESPECIALLY WHEN IT CAME TO GIVING TENANTS A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP OVER THEIR RESIDENCE.
In high-density social housing developments, tenants do not always feel settled in their own home. There are so many small signals – like the large carpark fronting the street – that give the development an institutional feel. This not only makes it challenging for tenants to feel ownership and pride about their home, it also creates a divide between the complex and the rest of the neighbourhood.
Studio Anna O Gorman’s initial feelings about this problem were confirmed via a series of human-centred design workshops. In these workshops, current social housing tenants revealed a clear desire for nesting and being part of a community, while still having the sense of autonomy we get from a traditional freestanding home.
With these findings in mind, the studio looked for ways to make the experience of entering the Anne Street Garden Villas more akin to the experience of coming home in the traditional sense. To facilitate this, they made 4 key design decisions.
- A village of small-scale homes
- Residential street frontage
- Multiple modes of access
- Own address for tenants
Each home in Anne Street Garden Villas has its own street number, letterbox and entry. Which will help each resident to feel a sense of individuality from their fellow tenants.
Cumulatively, the intention of these decisions is to foster independence without sacrificing the connection between all tenants and the rest of the street.
EVERYONE DESERVES A HOME TO FEEL PROUD OF. THE QUESTION IS – HOW CAN WE HELP SOCIAL HOUSING RESIDENTS DEVELOP A PERSONAL CONNECTION WITH THEIR HOME? THIS IS THE PROBLEM WE WANTED TO SOLVE WHEN DESIGNING THE ANNE STREET GARDEN VILLAS.
- To begin designing a new home for a private residential project, Anna O Gorman talked to the people who will call the place home. By learning how they live, the studio can create the perfect spot for that morning coffee ritual, nooks for the kids and spaces for personal interests (like a music room or place to display art, for instance).
“Designing this way allows the studio to create homes that feel special and – importantly – safe. But in social housing projects, we rarely have the same opportunity to learn about the residents in such an insightful manner as these other types of residential projects. That means we have to make a lot of assumptions about how the occupants will use their homes, limiting our ability to create a sensitive design response, says Anna O Gorman”.
Overcoming this barrier is what makes Anne Street Garden Villas such an important project. Studio Anna O Gorman were thrilled to have the opportunity to better connect with social housing residents in order to challenge conventional architectural approaches to design.