The Commons Building – Brunswick, VIC (Australia)

Hi there! How is it going? The Commons building in Brunswick, Victoria is a truly unique and innovative development that stands out from the rest of the buildings in the area. Built in 2012, it was designed by Breathe Architecture, an Australian firm that focuses on sustainable and environmentally conscious design.

The building is a mixed-use development, with residential apartments on the upper floors and commercial spaces on the ground floor. What sets The Commons apart from other developments is its commitment to sustainability and community. The building was designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, with a range of features that help to reduce its environmental impact.

Building’s communication with the surroundings ans its shading features. Source:

One of the building’s lateral facade facing the train line. Source:

One of the key features of The Commons is its use of passive heating and cooling. The building is oriented to take advantage of the sun’s path, with large windows on the north-facing side to allow for maximum solar gain in winter, and shading devices on the west-facing side to prevent overheating in summer. The apartments are also designed to be naturally ventilated, with windows that can be opened to allow for cross-ventilation and air flow.

Another important aspect of the building’s sustainability is its use of recycled and sustainable materials. The timber used in the construction of the building was sourced from sustainably managed forests, and many of the materials used in the building’s interior were recycled or salvaged. The building also has a rooftop garden, which not only provides a beautiful outdoor space for residents, but also helps to reduce the building’s carbon footprint by providing insulation and reducing storm water runoff.

The Common’s internal circulation area. Source:

Interiors of one of the building’s apartments. Source:

The Commons is also designed to promote community living. The building has a shared laundry and rooftop garden, which encourage residents to interact and build a sense of community. The ground floor of the building is home to a number of small businesses, including a café, a hair salon, and a florist. These businesses not only provide services to residents, but also help to foster a sense of community within the building and the surrounding area.

The Commons’ roof top communal area with community garden. Source:

One of the building’s apartment external area. Source:

Perhaps the most innovative aspect of The Commons, however, is its unique ownership model. The building is owned by a community of residents, who collectively purchased the building through a cooperative model. Each resident owns a share in the cooperative, and has a say in the building’s management and decision-making processes. This ownership model not only promotes a sense of community and shared responsibility among residents, but also ensures that the building remains affordable and accessible to a diverse range of people.

The Commons has received numerous awards for its innovative design and sustainability features. In 2013, amongst many other awards, it won the prestigious World Architecture Festival award for the Best Housing Project. The building has also been featured in a number of publications, including The Guardian and Architecture Australia.

The success of The Commons has inspired other developers to follow in its footsteps, and there are now a number of similar developments being built around Australia. These developments are not only environmentally sustainable, but also promote community living and shared ownership, which are increasingly important in a world where isolation and loneliness are becoming more common.

One of the building’s communal areas. Source:

Overall, The Commons is a truly remarkable building that sets the standard for sustainable and community-focused development. Its commitment to environmentally conscious design, community living, and innovative ownership models make it a model for future developments around the world. As our cities continue to grow and change, it is important that we embrace innovative and sustainable approaches to building and living, and The Commons is a shining example of what is possible when we do so. ♥


The Commons is part of the Nightingale Village, also a topic in one of our Blog posts. Click here to check it out.


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