Social housing in Tasmania to create a ‘close sense of community’


Cumulus Studio a has partnered with Housing Choices Tasmania and the Department of Communities to deliver a new social housing initiative in West Ulverstone on Tasmania’s north west coast.

The Oak Rise Housing development is made up of two and three bedroom homes and uses contemporary design, local materials and a naturalistic palette to reflect the surrounding vegetation.

The community of 48 courtyard-style homes, overlooking Bass Strait in an established natural landscape, strives to foster a sense of locality and place.

Cumulus architect and project manager Tim Blakeway said the team wanted to create a close sense of community through thoughtful design and enabled common areas.

Shared walkways and slow walking areas create a vibrant sense of community.

Image: Cumulus Architects

“We focused on the idea of ​​creating a vibrant community through simple elements such as shared walkways and slow walk areas, but also through a thoughtful reduction of unused outdoor spaces that normally exist between each residence,” said Blakeway said.

The homes were designed with north-facing courtyards at the front of each residence, to fill the interior rooms with warm light and create a natural extension for the living spaces.

“Rooms wrap around courtyards to give residents a sense of enclosure and privacy, but they are also spaces that can easily open out onto the street, connecting each home to the rest of the community,” said added Blakeway.

The architect said he prioritized visual diversity “by dotting the collection of houses with several design variations, including different brick patterns for the facades.” According to associate architect Edwina Brisbane, the variations provide moments of individuality and the palettes draw inspiration from the changing seasonal hues of the mature elms and oaks that punctuate the development.

Cumulus has ensured that the established vegetation is conserved and celebrated on site.

Development of Oak Rise Housing is expected to be completed in mid-2023.


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