Located in a heritage precinct on the edge of Hobart’s city centre, Goulburn Street Housing is a group of 25 social housing apartments built to address the lack of accommodation for the elderly and disabled in the city.
Situated on a former council car park — a sloping site stretching between two streets — the cluster of apartments centres on the concept of a micro village rather than a dominant urban complex. This immediately breaks down the visual scale of the development, allowing the design to continue the natural rhythm of the street, the neighbouring Georgian homes and predominant rooflines. The designs for the development’s two street-facing facades purposefully address the different aesthetic values of both streets.
The cluster’s various facades step and shift in height and depth. The red brick, which responds to the neighbourhood’s predominant textures, materials, and heritage aesthetics, is contrasted by the cloudy silver brickwork that further breaks down the visual scale of the project.
The interiors are simple, calm, and inviting. The apartments, all universally accessible and designed to Australian Liveable Housing Guidelines, are complemented by a balance of indoor and outdoor spaces, prioritising natural light, ventilation, and individuality — a combination that subverts public housing stereotypes in Australian cities. The considered interior design, such as the open kitchen and ample storage options, is complemented by subtle pastel colours that provide relief from the otherwise modest material palette.
The apartments all enjoy a relationship to the outside on at least two sides, allowing for effective cross ventilation and ample access to natural light while also decreasing each space’s overall energy consumption and ongoing costs.
Goulburn Street Housing forms part of a broader discussion on the future of Hobart's urban landscape and highlights how a considered approach to higher density living can complement the unique character of the city.