‘LIVING SPACE’ mixed-use affordable housing development for DOH


The Department of Housing’s Living Space development at Cockburn Central is a multiple residential mixed-use social housing project designed to offer affordable and sustainable living options in a vibrant and engaged community. The 136-unit development is 200 metres from the Cockburn Central train station, and close to Murdoch University and the Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Pilot social housing development for DOH, comprising 52 units for Private Sale, 20 units for shared equity through Keystart, 8 units dedicated as social housing units, and 50 units allocated as affordable rental units. The latter two types of units were spread evenly across the five buildings at different floor levels to avoid the stigma associated with social housing, and make the project attractive for private owner occupiers.  

Creation of urban space in the form of a public accessible central plaza that encourages pedestrian circulation across the site and integration with the surrounding community. Five independent buildings were conceived of varying height and scale to envelope and interact with a public plaza. Residential strata units comprise 67 one-bed, 56 two-bed, and 7 three-bed apartments. Commercial units comprise 6 ground floor strata units, including a Cafe with alfresco dining that spills into the central Plaza.  

Energy efficiency with a minimum residential 6 star energy rating, ranging between 6 and 10 stars based on NatHERS. Single roof-top plant solar gas-boosted hot water system, which is reticulated across all 5 buildings via a ring-main with pressure reducing valves to even the pressure, and individual electronic hot and cold water metering for strata units.

Energy efficiency was attained with insulation in excess of BCA requirements, energy-efficient lighting, Comfort glazing, water efficient fittings. Natural light and ventilation is introduced into the basement parking via 5  tree holes cast in the podium slab with gum trees planted in holes in the basement floor. We understand this feature was a first in Australia, and the basement was designed to accommodate waste truck collection into the basement, and we understand this is also a first in Australia.

Rainwater collection and storage in the basement for Fire Services and Landscaping Reticulation on site.  

First multi-storey residential development in Western Australia to be connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN), providing access to high speed internet, pay TV, phone services, and optional out-sourced clinical or domestic services.

68% of the units comply with the standards for Adaptable Housing according to AS 4299-1995, to facilitate aging-in-place. All the units were designed according to Adaptable Housing standards but Client requested we increase the unit yield from 120 to 136 units, but within the same $40 million budget. The floor plate stayed the same size and many units were not big enough to accommodate wheelchair circulation and the Commonwealth agreed to settle on 68% units that comply with AS 4299.   

Brief: Maximise the site yield for mixed-use social housing according to the Department of Housing’s  Brief, which included Adaptable Housing standards and elevated environmental standards.

Contractor: Probuild Constructions

Architects: HHA (WA) in collaboration with MMA (Melbourne).

Budget: $40 million

Program: Tender Award, DA and Building Licence Approval:  July – December 2010

Construction: January 2011 to PC in June 2012.

Practical Completion was reached 6 weeks ahead of schedule, on budget.