Architects of Nightingale 

Meet the architects working with Nightingale housing - Learn about their design philosophy, what community means to them and why they were compelled to join the Nightingale family. 

Clare Cousins Architects

 Clare Cousins, Director 

Clare Cousins, Director 

 Tara Ward, Associate

Tara Ward, Associate

North Melbourne's Clare Cousins Architects (CCA) has a keen interest in the way people respond to and engage with their environment, the creation and organisation of space and architecture that nurtures community. As an inaugural investor in Nightingale 1.0, CCA has designed award-winning bespoke housing for more than a decade is now pleased to be leading their own project within Nightingale Village along side her community inspired contemporaries.

Can you tell us a bit about your practice – what inspires you & your team?
We are a team of 9 based in North Melbourne. We are passionate about creating high amenity housing and projects that nurture community. We love creating spaces for people to live and grow in, and buildings which will get better over time.

We enjoy classic tunes, Friday lunches at our local, the Townie, and long walks on construction sites.

How do you embody the idea of community and teamwork within your practice?
As a relatively small team, we enjoy the benefits of working closely with each other, sharing triumphs and learning from challenges on each project. We’re also lucky to share a fantastic Brutalist office space with builders Maben Group, and can’t wait for the weather to warm up again to enjoy a barbie on our shared deck.

Why did you personally choose to become part of the Nightingale Housing Architect community?
The realities of Melbourne’s housing market are a consistent source of disappointment to our team. Not enough new homes are being built to suit the housing demands and too often the quality is poor. Rather than high density in the CBD and urban sprawl in the outer suburbs, we need good quality, medium density housing in our inner suburbs to meet Melbourne’s housing needs. 

Clare became involved as an inaugural investor in Nightingale 1, and we watched its progress with great interest. The establishment of Nightingale Housing brought an opportunity to lead our own Nightingale project, providing an opportunity to challenge the status quo.

Early in our search for a Nightingale site we were disappointed to be outbid for land on several occasions, but ultimately it was worth the wait to secure a site on Duckett St and be part of Nightingale Village.

What excites you specifically about Nightingale Village?
Nightingale Village is giving our team a rare opportunity to collaborate with and learn from our valued architectural colleagues and friends.

Nightingale Village is a proposition greater than the sum of its parts. With 7 buildings, we are able to have a greater impact on the public realm and deliver precinct wide facilities like the Go-Get Hub.

Nightingale Village is committed to generosity within the public realm with moves such as greening and widening the Upfield bike path, and the creation of multiple public gardens and green spaces throughout the village, like the Mews to the north of our site.

We are excited by the creation of a community, not just within the individual Nightingale buildings but across the greater precinct.

 The team - Clare Cousins Architects on site at Duckett Street, Brunswick

The team - Clare Cousins Architects on site at Duckett Street, Brunswick

What type of atmosphere and community will your building help to create for it’s future residents?
Within our building and within the Village, we’re creating an opportunity for a community of likeminded people to grow.

Nightingale CCA is creating space for people to connect and neighbours to get to know one another, as well as quiet spaces for people to reflect and recharge. Incidental interaction is encouraged with communal space and facilities; a shared laundry, open air clothes line, outdoor dining areas, productive garden and bike store.

Like other buildings in the village, Nightingale CCA will help to activate the edges of public space with a commercial offering fronting Duckett Street and a two-bedroom apartment orientated to northern mews.

How have you and your team used innovation, sustainability practices & materiality choices to inform your building’s design and create an opportunity for savings to be passed onto the purchaser?
Like all of our projects, our Nightingale apartments will utilise robust materials that are appropriate for the context that will age well with time, reducing lifecycle and maintenance costs. We want our apartments to work for our purchasers now and well into the future. We believe in quality over quantity, understanding that bigger is not necessarily better, and that efficient, well-conceived spaces can be just as delightful.

Nightingale CCA is conceived around passive design principles, all projects are fossil fuel-free and deliver at least a 7.5 star NatHERS rating. Buildings will feature double-glazed doors and windows, cross ventilation, ceiling fans, low VOC finishes, low energy consumption fittings and a 24KW solar panel array to reduce energy consumption.

The delivery of 7 projects within the Nightingale Village enables efficiencies of services and construction, the benefits of which will be passed on to purchasers.

We’re really excited to get to know our purchasers, understanding what is important to them and guiding them through the process of this exciting project to deliver 25 great new homes.


Words  - Tara Ward, Associate & Nightingale Project Architect, Clare Cousins Architects

Clare Cousins Architects