Markham Avenue, Ashburton
Markham Avenue is one of the first projects designed and delivered under Homes Victoria’s Big Housing Build – a major investment in social housing across the state.
Spread across five buildings within a welcoming environment, the new precinct’s 178 social and affordable homes are ‘tenure blind’, meaning they are arranged and designed to be indistinguishable from each other. It’s high-quality housing that is universally accessible, equitable, and socially sustainable.
Bordering an established community garden, reserve and a nearby creek, the landscape-led residential community has been planned to carefully balance development and biodiversity protection.
Outward-facing and connected to the wider community, the development also looks inward to support and nurture residents. In addition to communal outdoor spaces such as courtyards set among mature trees, Markham Avenue’s buildings feature natural brick and other durable materials designed to complement the landscape and stand the test of time.
A new benchmark in social and affordable housing
Architectus worked closely with Homes Victoria to conceive a residential precinct that is both financially viable and socially sustainable, setting a new benchmark within Homes Victoria’s portfolio of desirable, attainable homes with good access and proximity to Melbourne’s city centre (just 12 kilometres away).
The master-planned development offers both public and affordable housing that is compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act. It also strives to remove the stigma sometimes associated with social housing communities, changing the quality of life for current and future residents.
The balance of the development comprises residential buildings between two to four levels, providing 111 public and 68 affordable dwellings.
Designed to complement its surroundings
The contemporary façade employs natural brick of varying hues, with clean lines and traditional brick coursing for a finer grain feel, texture and depth.
Matched with metal windows, balustrading and details, this natural palette complements the landscape and offers durable, low-maintenance housing while making a classical architectural statement.
The two-storey, finer-grain buildings along Markham Avenue are sensitive to the character of the neighbourhood’s existing homes.
The apartment buildings are set within a new, accessible landscape, with courtyards providing communal open spaces and new trees incorporated to celebrate beautiful outdoor spaces.
We also planned the development to allow many of the existing, mature trees on site to be retained, and designed the buildings to provide great views and connections to the adjacent reserve and creek.
Balancing development and biodiversity
Markham Avenue honours its biodiverse surroundings, which includes Ashburton Community Garden, Markham Reserve and the Malvern Valley Golf Course, just across Gardiners Creek. The latter sites are identified as significant spaces for revegetation and regeneration in the City of Boroondara’s Urban Biodiversity Strategy 2013-2023 and the Markham Victory Master Plan.
The aim is to enhance biodiversity on public land, reduce land use and development impacts on biodiversity, and increase community support for biodiversity protection and enhancement.
Due to the sensitivity of the site and the surrounding regeneration areas, amenities have been thoughtfully designed and arranged to ensure a harmonious response between development and biodiversity protection.
Designers Australia Awards 2023 (DIA) – Award of Merit – Place