We are often told that
we’re experiencing a shift towards apartment living, but overall, the question
remains whether multi-residential developments are delivering a culture of ‘community
habitation’ as well as convenience.
For Plus Architecture and Hamton developers, community was the driving force of Society, a 242-apartment
development in Melbourne’s South Yarra.
“There is a real trend
toward apartment living,” explains Plus Architecture’s Ian Briggs. “This is not
just because they are cheaper than houses. Today people of all ages have come
to the conclusion that they would rather live in an apartment than a house.”
Core to the sense of
community at Society to draw occupants together. Centralising the lifts and
bringing residents through a communal lobby space – where a lounge and bar can
be found, along with access to a ‘contemplation garden’– have helped achieved
“The Lobby is entered through the coffee shops and restaurants –
another place to meet friends,” Ian says. “All of this ground floor activity
creates a ‘Lobby Culture’ – a place to hang out and meet your neighbours.”
In addition, Plus have
created a number of ‘laptop pods’ – egg-like pods of stacked laser-cut plywood
– designed by Emma Selzer, which invite residents to work within the communal
spaces rather than secreting themselves away in their apartments.
A casual rooftop terrace
area, including a gym, dinning room, lounge and outdoor cinema, spas and
entertaining areas, accompanies the ground-floor amenities.
Ian tells us that people are
becoming more inclined towards apartment living, for it’s proximity to cities,
reduction in travel costs and time, lower maintenance and affordability. “The
way we live is changing. It comes down to the basic aspirations of what people
want out of their home.”
However, apartment residents
aren’t just young professionals – the lifestyle appeals to young families,
single women and downsizing empty-nesters.
“Society was the catalyst for changing the way
multi-residential apartments are designed. All of the developers and valuers
were waiting to see if the apartments settled well,” Ian says.
“The development proved to be a massive success.
It sold out in two months, had no defaults in settlement and increased in value
over its first year more than the median house prices.”
This is perhaps a sign of things to come, as
developers increasingly understand the need to provide community, not just
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