Campbell Street


  • DKO Architecture
  • SLAB
  • Milieu Property


Campbell Street is a study in pushing multi residential architecture and vertical living to the limits. Each house aspires to provide the traditional three-bedroom housing typology squeezed, stacked and blurred. Two dwellings side by side, identical in dimension but not layout. The implementation of Campbell Street was very much a process dreaming big on a small site.

Key Features


It was critical to think about how we could make use of the spaces in different formats and uses, to interrogate the process of multiple configurations – how could bedrooms become theatres, or how the kitchen could adapt from four to eight guests. We investigated foldable elements and hidden beds that could transform space and provide flexibility. The plans break down and merge traditional isolated programs, blending them together, to make opportunity of space constraints, challenging more conventional living arrangements. Mirrors, glass dividers, glass floors and internal windows compound and reinforce the erosion of boundaries and extend the perception of space.


The implementation of Campbell Street was very much a process of seeing the constraints as opportunity and dreaming big on a small site. The close collaboration between DKO and SLAB created a carefully crafted design that responds to the urban context and current thinking about density and livability. Directors from both DKO and SLAB invested in and live in each of the two dwellings – a manifestation of belief in the product that was created. The integration of two design firms bought new propositions to the table and highlighted the best design decisions via careful investigation and individual experience.


The gentrification of Collingwood has come at a cost, with many examples of middle class values driving certain flavours and styles of development and architectural style. Whilst one can argue that Collingwood is a suburb of diversity, there is authenticity to Collingwood that is allusive and difficult to assimilate into. The Campbell Street townhouses are located in an eclectic streetscape, of commercial warehouses and single and double storey terraces. Visually the building is dominated by a cloak of custom punctured and pressed aluminium sheets that provide a strength and boldness to the street.


The dwelling lot sizes are 4m in width and 9m in length, 36m2 in total per dwelling, or 72m2 total site area. A density of 140 dwellings per hectare. The average city lot size in 2016 in Melbourne was 400m2, more than 10 times the size of our site. Each house aspires to provide the traditional three-bedroom housing typology squeezed, stacked and blurred. Not only were we fascinated by working with such constraints, but we were intrigued by offering solutions and alternatives to city living that are outside the conventional market offerings.


With the smallest basement in Melbourne we sacrificed one tenth of the site employing the luxury of a lightwell stretching the whole six stories from roof garden to basement. This allows daylight deep into the site that is fully built out and provides cross ventilation and visual relief. The lightwell is critical within the stair circulation creating an airy space experience with fine detailing and open treads. Joinery elements line walls, with a refined visual simplicity that allows people to live and occupy the space with everyday items and give opportunity for a calmness through the removal of visual clutter.

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