Building Affordable Community Housing, One Brick At A Time

Building Affordable Community Housing, One Brick At A Time

An 18-storey apartment complex is currently being developed in the heart of Redfern, which will provide social and affordable housing for people in the community.

This project was made possible through the NSW Government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF), which will deliver close to 3,400 homes by 2023. Brick was selected as the predominant material for this build due to its incredible strength and durability that is ideal for multi-storey buildings, as well as its affordability.
The NSW Government has enacted a $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund to address the housing affordability which will deliver close to 3,400 homes by 2023.

With support from the NSW Government, St George Community Housing is currently developing a 160-apartment complex in Redfern, in partnership with Lendlease. Lendlease has worked closely with SGCH over the past year to provide design, project management and construction expertise to bring this development into fruition. The complex, which is located at 11 Gibbons Street, consists of flexible one, two and three bedroom apartments that can accommodate multi-generational living, as well as a ground floor commercial space and a café.

DKO Architecture and SGCH have worked collaboratively with the Government Architect through the Design Excellence process to ensure the best design outcomes are achieved for this project. To ensure the durability and longevity of the building, DKO selected brick as the predominant material for the build, selecting 160,000 bricks from Brickworks Building Products.

Brick is a common material used by DKO Architecture, favoured for the warmth and tactility it brings to their projects. ‘Bricks are timeless- they have an authenticity to them’ DKO Principle Koos de Keijzer says. ‘When used on mass, they can create beautiful and subtle colour changes as you walk around the building. The use of brick was important in the Redfern development because the material is relatively maintenance free, durable and appropriate to the locality.’

As the world’s most sought after and trustworthy sources of building materials, brick is renowned for its strength and secure investment potential, which is particularly important in multi-story developments. Bricks withstand the test of time, even under the harshest environmental conditions. There is no need for painting, sealing or other high-cost, time-consuming finishes, ensuring that the building will remain strong, reliable and maintenance free for a lifetime.
The Redfern community housing development, which is currently under construction, will use Austral Bricks. Austral Bricks are renowned for their long-lasting quality, and ability to withstand tough Australian conditions for more than a century.

Bricks will be the perfect backdrop for artist Joe Hurst from the Boomali Aboriginal Artists Co-Op to include Aboriginal art as part of the building fabric, including the brick façade, lobby and communal open space.

The Redfern development incorporates a range of sustainable initiatives and targets, and aims to receive an 8-star NatHERs rating for the energy efficient unit design. The building will incorporate solar panels and battery storage, as well as WELS rated fixtures to conserve water usage. As de Keijzer says, ‘brick, in addition to features like double glazing, goes toward achieving the sustainability target of 8-star NatHERS.’ Made from organic minerals found in shale and local, naturally abundant sources of clay, brick’s long-lasting life cycle also offers ongoing environmental benefits.

The thermal mass of brick also contributes to lowering the carbon footprint of the Redfern development, as de Keijzer says, ‘the thermal qualities of brick help to retain heat, providing excellent passive solar protection. They are also reusable, so from a sustainability point of view, they’re great.’ An important pillar of Passive Solar Design, the thermal mass of brick has the ability to absorb and store heat energy, keeping internal temperatures comfortable reducing the use of artificial heating and cooling.

The Redfern community housing development is a true testament to the incredible potential of brick as a valuable component in sustainable, low-energy design. Its beauty, durability and sustainability make brick the ultimate material in responsible and economical building design.

Related Content

View more