Stories

This Vertical Life

An ongoing biography and history of apartments in Melbourne and beyond.

Unfolding Pavilion

Many people don't know that there is social housing throughout Venice: in the 1970s, the city embarked on an ambitious process of commissioning architecturally significant public housing projects that artfully blend into the city's medieval urban fabric. Possibly the best of them is Gino Valle's project in Giudecca, which featured in Unfolding Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Jana Perković spoke to the curators about why social housing still matters.

City Gardens: A Hidden Oasis

North Melbourne's City Gardens apartment complex is a haven of communal living, complete with kindergarten, vegetable patches, clothing bins and rooftop hives. Elizabeth Campbell spoke to some of the residents of the Peter McIntyre-designed buildings to learn how collective living works – and see more of the unique spaces they call home.

City Edge: Melbourne’s Original Urban Village

South Melbourne's City Edge, built in the early '70s, is inner-city medium-density housing at its finest, with its 'urban village' design by Daryl Jackson and Evan Walker rendering it a landmark development of its time. Rachel Elliot-Jones and photographer Tom Ross head to City Edge to chat with residents about City Edge's significance and value to Melbourne's built heritage.

People Power: Saving Sirius

In this special This Vertical Life feature, Assemble Papers editor Sara Savage meets some of the remaining residents at the Sirius public housing building in Sydney, who for the last three years has been fighting the NSW government's decision to sell the building (as well as hundreds of other properties in the wider Millers Point area) to make way for luxury apartments.

The Commons: Raise the Roof

Designed by Brunswick-based Breathe Architecture, The Commons is a considered alternative to the rapid-fire inner city multi-residential developments of the 1990s and early 2000s. Environmental and social sustainability is at the core of The Commons’ architecture, so much so that Breathe’s Jeremy McLeod has moved not only his practice, but his family, into the building.

Moonbria

Best known for his later work on the Victorian Arts Centre and National Gallery, it was between 1939 and 1941 architect Roy Grounds finessed his trademark Modernist style on a series of apartment buildings in and around Melbourne's inner southern suburbs. James Stephens and James Geer explore one of the most iconic, Toorak's Moonbria, an ode to Grounds' enduring architectural legacy.

Winter Park: Suburban Nature

Winter Park: a place where small scale suburban life co-exists harmoniously with the neighbouring flora and fauna. A pioneering feat of its time, Emma Whiffen explores this innovative 1970s design in Doncaster, which focuses on landscaping by integrating the surrounding parklands and bush into the housing complex as a shared space for its residents.

Beverley Hills: sunset glamour

Continuing our biography of vertical life in Melbourne, we explore the past and present of the Beverley Hills in South Yarra. Completed in the 1930s, Beverley Hills brought a touch of Los Angeles glamour (and thrifty brick-recycling) to sombre, Depression-era Melbourne. Elizabeth Kulas speaks with current residents about the practicalities of living at density, in cinematic style.

The Cairo: romance and the minimum flat

A leafy art deco gem built by Australian modernist architect Best Overend, Cairo Flats was completed in 1936. This post-dated Overend's September 1933 article 'A Minimum Flat with Maximum Comfort' in the publication 'Australian Home Beautiful.' Writer James Stephens talks to former resident Kate Rhodes about the romance and quirks of her Cairo days.