Rushall Park community housing

by Ofentse Sefolo
Rushall Park community housing

Rushall Park expands upon the built legacy of the Old Colonists’ Association, Victoria’s oldest retirement village provider, who commissioned MGS Architects to design 35 independent living units on the last remaining development site within the historic village boundaries in North Fitzroy, an inner suburb of Melbourne, 5km from the city centre.

The development is situated on the north-eastern boundary of the site along a narrow tract of land flanking a railway station and addressing several varied interfaces, the railway line and associated platforms, the historically significant cottages, other recent developments and the nature reserve which forms a protective buffer to the residential neighbourhood beyond.

The heritage character of the existing fabric required careful consideration, hence MGS sought to provide a complementary and respectful counterpoint to the existing context by adopting a similar scale, form, rhythm and materiality while delivering a design without mimicry. Most importantly, the new development had to respect the picturesque quality of the village as a whole, which had been planned in the 1870s to be a self-sustaining community of retired actors.

While there is no sign of the Dutch gables in the new buildings, the three two-storey terraced elements share a similarity with the original forms through gabled roof forms, materials and colours from the Australian vernacular and colonial past. Balconies are sheltered by pergolas, the brickwork is indented or protruded, and the facades are carved into using motifs that speak of the decorative themes previously established by the 19th century architecture on site.

• Practice: MGS Architects.
• Project management: Atkins Consulting.

• Town planning: SJB Planning.
• Building services/ESD: JBA Consulting Engineers.
• Structural engineering: Bonacci.
• Civil engineering: Bonacci.
• Landscape architects: John Patrick Landscape Architects.
• Building surveyor/accessibility: Du Chateau Chun.
• Quantity surveyors: WT Partnership.
• Traffic: Traffix Group.
• Waste management: Leigh Design.
• Arborist: Trees and Associates.
• Acoustics: Arup.
• Construction team: Manresa Construction.

To view this remarkable development, visit: https://mgsarchitects.com.au/projects/housing/rushall-park

Images by: MGS Architects

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