Clare Cousins Architects <em>Nightingale Evergreen</em>, 2022. Courtesy of the architects<br/>
© Clare Cousins Architects. Photo: Tom Ross

Clare Cousins Architects

Clare Cousins Architects

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Clare Cousins Architects Nightingale Evergreen, 2022. Courtesy of the architects
© Clare Cousins Architects. Photo: Tom Ross

Clare Cousins Architects
(est. 2005, Melbourne)

Since 2005, Clare Cousins Architects has delivered a diverse range of buildings, places and interior spaces in the realms of housing, workplace, retail, culture and education. Engaged in projects of all sizes, the studio has a particular interest in projects that nurture community.

Cousins’s interest in community-driven housing saw her become an inaugural investor and committee member of Nightingale Housing in 2016. Nightingale Housing, a model initiated by Breathe Architecture, is a not-for-profit social enterprise that exists to support, promote and advocate for high-quality housing that is ecologically, socially and financially sustainable.

Nightingale Evergreen is located within Nightingale Village, a collective of six Nightingale buildings each designed by award-winning Melbourne architecture firms and developed by Nightingale Housing on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung Country. The Village is located on Brunswick’s Duckett Street, between Sydney Road and the Upfield train line, and focuses on delivering at-cost housing to owner-occupiers and forming a community that is ethical, sustainable and human-centric. The project presented an opportunity for Clare Cousins Architects to be an architect for the residential development, and to lead the creation of housing that has the quality of a single-family home but with the unique amenity and communal nature of multi-residential dwellings.

Nightingale Evergreen contains twenty-seven apartments designed for a diversity of individuals and families of varying scales. On the lower floors of the building, textured concrete walls are adorned by seasonal vegetation, while the upper floors feature a green metal ‘skin’ with steel framing supporting balconies that open to the sky. Like all Nightingale projects, sustainability is a key factor in Nightingale Evergreen’s design. The Village has solar photovoltaic arrays, an embedded energy network powered with 100 per cent green power, water tanks, ceiling fans, rooftop gardens, bike parking and a basement car-share hub. Twenty per cent of apartments were also pre-allocated to community housing providers through collaboration with Housing Choices Australia and Women’s Property Initiatives.

Cousins is actively involved in the broader design community as a mentor, public speaker, committee member and industry representative. She proactively advocates the many benefits of architecture to the wider community, with a view to ensuring that good design is valued in Australia. Clare Cousins Architects won the Emerging Architect Prize at the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2013 Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards. Since then, the practice has gone on to win multiple awards for projects, including the St Kilda East House, Baffle House, Camberwell House and, more recently, the Stable & Cart House in North Melbourne.