Nightingale 1


  • Breathe Architecture/ Nightingale Housing
  • Project Group
  • Oculus/ Openwork
  • Nick Bishop ESD with Hip V. Hype Sustainability
  • Hansen Partnership


This is old Brunswick, it’s industrial, and it’s run down, yet there exists a strangely endearing quality of this area – it’s people, it’s sense of community. It is a melting pot of migrant activity, everyone coming together to form one totally imperfect community. Nightingale 1 is the inaugural project of the Nightingale Model – a replicable, triple bottom line housing model with an overarching priority towards social, economic and environmental sustainability. At it’s heart, Nightingale is all about people. Its architecture serves as a catalyst to unite a group with similar values and build community.

Key Features


Nightingale is all about people. The project was about building a place that people wanted to live in, a place they would love, a place they would call home.

Apartments are affordable, sustainable, generous, easy to live in and light filled. It is filled with great neighbours and good people – home to individuals, couples and families, from all walks of life.

The design strategy was to build more with less, adopting an honest material palette and placing emphasis on reduction – of embodied carbon emissions, operational carbon emissions and running costs.


Nightingale’s ground floor is about engagement between residents, the street and the wider Brunswick community. Tenancies are occupied by organisations with similarly aligned values – Nightingale Housing, and Branch Studio Architects. Seating nooks and a semi public laneway work hard to activate the space.

Nightingale apartments are affordable, sustainable, generous, easy to live in, and light filled. A series of meaningful social and utility spaces promote interaction and engagement. The rooftop deck is about the utility of living and people coming together. With vegetable plots, shared laundry, washing line and outdoor dining and rooftop lawn, ensures company is always at hand.


Homes built for people, not profit.

Nightingale 1 is made up of a series of meaningful architectural moments. Adopting a design approach of building more with less and an emphasis on reduction, non-essential building systems, such as second bathrooms, individual laundries, car parking, ceilings, chrome, air-conditioning and toxic finishes, have all been excluded. Instead, apartments are generous, light, affordable and sustainable.

The whole together is so much more than the sum of its parts. Designed with a priority towards social, economic and environmental sustainability, Nightingale 1 encourages a real behavioural and lifestyle change in its occupants with hope to inspire others to do the same.


Nightingale 1 is the first building in the country to be connected under an embedded network that is 100% fossil fuel free. Nightingale is carbon neutral in its operation. There is no gas. This is not by accident but by design.

We designed not only the building or the electrical reticulation but we also designed the owners corporation rules, the embedded network and metering systems, the metering and sharing of the solar and solar feedings so that every Nightingale resident receives 100% green power at more than 30% less than any other Brunswick resident pays for carbon laden black power.


The building is designed to operate without air conditioning. We have partnered with The University of Melbourne to test internal temperatures, to prove that air-conditioning is not required in Melbourne’s temperate climate zone.

Nightingale includes:

– Average 8.2 stars
– Parking for 42 bicycles
– Car Share
– Rooftop gardens
– Shared rooftop laundry
– Natural light and ventilation to all bedrooms
– Shared 18kW PV array
– Shared solar hot water system
– Shared hydronic heating boiler
– Re-use of rainwater for irrigation, laundry and shared amenities
– Recycled timber floors
– Formply joinery
– Concrete bench tops
– Hydronic heating
– Double glazed, thermally broken windows

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