Finalist 2021

Breese St

DKO Architecture / Breathe Architecture / Milieu Property

Breese Street was informed through careful study of the requirements of urban living anchored in nurturing community and championing sustainability.

Designed as a collaboration between DKO Architecture, Breathe Architecture and Milieu Property, Breese St was informed through careful study of the requirements of urban living anchored in nurturing community and championing sustainability.

The architecture fits the narrative of Brunswick’s industrial heritage of the past while leading to a sustainable future.

Design Brief

Collectively, DKO + Breathe + Milieu are interested in how we foster sustainable urbanisation – not just ecological, but also social sustainability. How do we build better cities? Better spaces? We aim to do one good building at a time, in little precincts; Breese Street gives back to the broader community by providing a catalyst for people to talk to each other and connect. This is the value outcome that many crave – with just over one third of the apartments sold on launch day, highlighting a demand for such a development.


This project was developed by:

Design Process

To foster an interactive, inclusive community, developer Milieu, conducted a ‘Liveability Survey’ for this project, allowing prospective residents to voice their opinions and shape the building’s design. These insights were taken on board and this information used to guide and inform the team’s design response.

Of the prospective buyers who participated in the survey ninety-nine per cent of residents said they wanted to buy into an apartment that fostered “a sense of community” and more than fifty per cent wanted to know their neighbours by name. To encourage and strengthen community, the design team split the 59-apartment development across two buildings. This translates to two cores where there are no more than five homes per floor. The purpose being that smaller communities are better communities, as when you start to have a vast number of neighbours you start to lose that personal feel. It is exactly the same as getting to know your neighbours that live on the same street.

Breese Street’s residents will form a genuine community, one where neighbours connect – not over the fence in this instance, but while tending gardens on the rooftop. This ‘backyard in the sky’ includes native plants, beehives and a community vegetable plot intended to support a natural ecosystem which attracts wildlife. Barbeque, outdoor dining areas and communal workspaces again encourage chance encounters and social interactions. The rooftop also includes a shared laundry and clothesline to reduce energy and water usage. A 20,000-litre tank collects rainwater to be redirected to garden irrigation, while a compost area will minimise food waste and contribute to the garden.

Design Excellence

The development sees the creation of 59 one, two and three-bedroom apartments. The functional performance of the light-filled, naturally-ventilated, thermally-efficient apartments is fully realised at Breese St.

The architecture reflects the suburb’s vernacular. The sawtooth roof references Brunswick’s industrial heritage; the factories, the warehouses. Not simply an aesthetic approach, the roof’s form creates the perfect setting for the solar panels (the pitch houses a 30-kilowatt PV solar panel system).

Fossil fuel-free, with a 7.9-star sustainability rating and a maximum of five neighbours per floor, it’s a building designed for a daily life in easy synergy with our environment.

Design Innovation

The underlying principles for Breese St are Authenticity, Liveability and Sustainability.

Authenticity – The architectural form engages the building’s context by referencing Brunswick’s vernacular. There’s a simplicity and honesty in the materials used, crafted to aid passive heating and cooling.

Liveability - To encourage and strengthen community, the 59-apartment development is split across two buildings. Two cores equal no more than five homes per floor. The purpose being that smaller communities are better communities, as when you start to have a vast number of neighbours you start to lose that personal feel. It is the same as getting to know your neighbours that live on the same street.

Sustainability - Breese St seeks to achieve a 7.9-star NatHERS energy rating. The building’s orientation was fastidiously considered to optimize thermal efficiency with the façade articulated with deep reveals and solar shading to the north and west. Nearly all apartments are dual-aspect, to the street and the landscaped courtyard, allowing for natural cross-ventilation. The project is also fossil fuel free with no gas – instead, the building is powered by renewable energy from PV solar system and supplied by GreenPower which draws on renewable energy sources and offers residents wholesale energy prices.

Design Impact

Responses to the ‘Breese Street Liveability Survey’, undertaken by Milieu informed the design team and brief for the fossil-fuel free, 7.9 NatHERS building.

Respondents were passionate about sustainability and community, highlighting productive gardens with rooftop beehives, pet-friendly spaces and a desire to know your neighbour by name.

Designed with community creation at its core and in an effort to break up the internal massing, the building was split in two, a move to encourage residents to know the four neighbours on their floor.

A communal rooftop with bbq, seating, vegetable boxes, beehives, communal laundry & clothesline’s offer residents an extension of their homes.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

Employing passive design principles was highly important at Breese St as it seeks to achieve a 7.9-star NatHERS energy rating. The building’s orientation was fastidiously considered to optimize thermal efficiency with the façade articulated with deep reveals and solar shading to the north and west. Nearly all apartments are dual-aspect, to the street and to the landscaped courtyard, allowing for natural cross-ventilation. The project is also fossil fuel free with no gas – instead, the building is powered by renewable energy from PV solar system and supplied by GreenPower which draws on renewable energy sources and offers residents wholesale energy prices.

Architectural Design 2021 Finalists

Waterfront Mushi

Canhui Chen, Swinburne University / Daniel Prohasky, Swinburne University / Joshua Salisbury-Carter, Swinburne University / Alex Reilly, Arup / Alessandro Liuti, Arup / Nancy Beka, Studio Edwards / Ben Edwards, Studio Edwards

Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street

Bates Smart / M&L Hospitality / Mulitplex / Lovell Chen / Studio Ongarato / Point of View

Melbourne Connect

Woods Bagot / University of Melbourne / Lendlease

Sarah Sebastian

Russell & George

Delacombe Stadium

Kosloff Architecture / VSBA

Pascoe Vale Primary School

Kosloff Architecture / VSBA

NGV Triennial 2020 Outdoor Pavilions

National Gallery of Victoria / BoardGrove Architects Pty Ltd CBD / Contracting Group (Builder not Designer)

La Trobe University Library Bendigo

La Trobe University / Kosloff Architecture / Structural Engineering: IRWIN / Consulting Engineers Services Engineering: Stantec / Building Surveyor: Philip Chun

Springvale Community Hub

Lyons / Rush Wright Associates / City of Greater Dandenong

RMIT Rodda Lane

RMIT / Sibling Architecture

Prahran Square

ASPECT Studios / Lyons / City of Stonnington

ACMI Renewal

BKK Architects / Razorfish / ACMI

Davison Collaborative

HIP V. HYPE / ARCHIER

Monash University Chancellery

Monash University / ARM Architecture / Openwork (Landscape Design) / Aurecon (Services and ESD Consultant) / WSP (Structural, fire and waste engineering) / Geyer (Workplace Design Consultant) / Marshall Day (Acoustics)