Striking buildings take out prestigious architecture awards

Brendan Rees

Australia’s first build-to-rent-to-own housing development in Kensington, and an Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) accommodation building in North Melbourne have taken out top Victorian architecture awards.

The designed development in Kensington, which integrates an industrial heritage wool store turned cassette factory building at 38 Albermarle St, won recognition in the Residential Architecture (Multiple Housing) category in the 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards. 

Delivered by Assemble Futures, the building is Australia’s first medium-density built-to-rent-to-own, allowing residents to rent new apartments for up to five years, with the option to buy at their lease’s end. According to the awards panel, the seven-storey building designed by Fieldwork, “demonstrates a robust and clever response to resilient community living”.

“Positioned above an industrial heritage wool store, the deep-set balconies with light-toned precast concrete serve as a recessive backdrop to the intricate detail of the heritage facade below,” the panel noted.


At ground level, residents share an expansive communal space including a multipurpose workshop, loan library and a zero-waste hospitality venue that creates an intermediary between the residents and the broader community.


Other shared facilities include a laundrette, secure parcel drop-off space, lending library, dog wash station and multipurpose “scout hall” — each fostering incidental moments of neighbourly interaction.

The ANMF Home also won a Victorian Architecture Award in the sustainable architecture category.

The Bayley Ward-designed building at 240 Victoria St, which provide eligible members affordable rental accommodation, is situated above the renovated Central Club Hotel, and built to the “passive house” standard of sustainable building design, which includes the principals of airtightness, thermal insulation, mechanical ventilation heat recovery.

“Enthusiastically leading the way, the architects of ANMF House took the client on a journey to invest in a holistic approach to sustainability through economic whole-of-life considerations,” the awards panel noted. 

“ANMF House demonstrates how sustainability can be integrated throughout a project without abrupt cultural change through considered design, streamlined construction and comfortable operation.” •


Caption: 38 Albermarle St, Kensington, and ANMF House in North Melbourne have been recognised in the 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards. 

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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