The Commons was the building that inspired the Nightingale model. Designed by Breathe Architecture, The Commons was intended to be the firm’s first architect-funded project. 

However, due to the poor economic environment of 2007, the project was ultimately taken on by ethical developer Small Giants. The Commons has served as a prototype for many of the ideas inherent to the Nightingale model, from material reductionism to the social impacts of shared facilities. The Commons’ unique approach has gained widespread attention, sweeping national awards and creating the foundation for the Nightingale model and Nightingale Housing.

Project Details
Site / Florence Street, Brunswick
Status / Complete
Apartments / 24

Project Team
Architects / Breathe Architecture
Design Architect / Jeremy McLeod
Project architect / Bonnie Herring
Builder / Kubic Constructions
Client / Small Giants

NatHERS Rating / 7.5 Stars
Rainwater harvesting / Irrigation and common-area toilets
Solar array / Shared 5kW PV array

Tapware and showers / Consolidated Brass
Toilets / Porcher
Appliances / Fisher and Paykel Integrated Single Dishdrawer

Photography: Andrew Wuttke & Michael Downes


2014 RRR The Architects International Building of the Year
2014 National AIA awards, Frederick Romberg award for Residential Architecture: Multiple Housing
2014 National AIA awards, David Oppenheim award for Sustainable Architecture
2014 Victorian AIA awards, Allan & Beth Coldicutt Award Sustainable Architecture
2014 Victorian AIA awards, Best Overend Award Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing
2014 BPN Sustainability Awards, Best of the Best
2014 BPN Sustainability Awards, Multi-density Residential
2014 Victorian Premier’s Design Awards, Overall Winner
2014 Intergrain Timber Vision Award, Commercial Exterior
2014 Houses Award - Sustainability Award
2014 Timber Design Awards, Timber Cladding
2014 Interior Design Excellence Awards, Residential Multi
2014 Interior Design Excellence Awards, Sustainability