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Rushall Park apartments shortlisted in world architecture awards

September 8, 2020

Rushall Park is one of five Australian architectural projects which has been shortlisted in the World Architecture News Awards, and the only one in the best affordable housing project.


The 35 independent living units were completed last year, and showcase the innovation being applied to social and affordable housing projects. They are designed to age-friendly and dementia-friendly best practice, and complement the heritage village which was founded 151 years ago by philanthropist and actor George Coppin.


Phillip Wohlers, CEO of the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria, said he was thrilled when told about the shortlisting.


“We have always sought out the best in design of the day to honour our founders but also to be in keeping with contemporary living,” he said.


“These apartments are an important contribution of OCAV to affordable housing for older Victorians,” Phillip added.

OCAV commissioned MGS Architects to design the apartments on the last remaining development site within the historic village boundaries in North Fitzroy. The development is on the north-eastern boundary of the site along a narrow tract of land flanking a railway station, and next to historically significant cottages.

According to Professor Rob McGauran, Director of MGS Architects, the new buildings provide a complementary and respectful counterpoint to the existing picturesque quality of the village, created in the 1870s as a self-sustaining community of retired actors and older Victorians.

The new development – with three distinct buildings named after well-known benefactors Lucy Coppin (daughter of the founder George Coppin), Bryan Blythe (a Life Governor and former Councillor and President) and Jean Stewart (a generous donor) – does not have Dutch gables nor highly ornate chimneys of the original homes.

“That is quite intentional and follows the direction of George Coppin who wanted the village to evolve in its own style and in the architecture of the day,” Rob said.

What the new buildings share is a similarity through gabled roof forms, materials and colours from the Australian vernacular and colonial past. The balconies are sheltered by pergolas, brick work is indented or protruded, and the façades are carved into using motifs that speak of the decorative themes that can be found throughout the village.

The project team includes: MGS Architects, Atkins Consulting, John Patrick Landscape Architects and Manresa Constructions.

The awards will be announced at a digital ceremony in November.


"I love the fact that Rushall Park residents and volunteers are so active – contributing to life in the village. The sense of the community is strong which is why I put my name on the waiting list" - Maggie Birkett.

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