The expansion of an iconic social housing complex in Hobart balances heritage, individuality, and reimagined communal spaces.
Located on the periphery of the city centre, Queens Walk is regarded by the community as a gateway, a point of reference signalling the arrival into Tasmania’s capital. Drawing on the complex’s existing International Style architecture, our contemporary designs for two new buildings and 65 apartments celebrate the development’s iconic heritage while embracing the individual ways we shape our homes.
A Continued Narrative
The original 1950s buildings were based on a concept of repetitive, ordered, and functional spaces. Repurposing this idea, we reflected the established buildings’ distinctive elements and introduced subtle and playful variations, resulting in designs that continue Queens Walk’s architectural narrative while remaining contemporary additions.
The new facades’ prominent windows and balconies shift, expand, and contract along individual floors. Textured concrete and vertical bronze fins along the main face of the buildings create a changing rhythm of shadows throughout the day.
We designed the additions as a cluster of parts instead of solid, dominant structures. This gives the buildings a sense of transparency, allows a visual connection to the revitalised outdoor spaces, and breaks down the design’s scale within the city’s landscape. A Reimagined Communal Space.
Alongside our collaborators REALMstudios we looked to create an accessible and reactivated green space for a diverse community.
Developed in consultation with Queens Walk’s residents, the new communal areas include natural playgrounds made from repurposed trees, gravel paths lined with native flora, and productive community gardens.
Most edges, doorsteps and stairs dotting the open areas are designed to double as seating, expanding the possible uses by residents.
Flexible and individual interiors.
Looking beyond a repetitive aesthetic often aligned with social housing, we’ve centred the interiors of the one and two-bedroom apartments on a flexible design that allows for expressions of individuality by its residents.
Each apartment enjoys one of four colour schemes that alternate on every floor, calm tones added to the joinery, kitchen, and main doors that contrast the buildings’ subdued yet robust material palette. The larger dwellings have a sliding door to the second bedroom, allowing it to become a study or larger dining room seamlessly connected to the living space.
Outside, small entry niches provide tenants with opportunities to personalise entryways and encourage a sense of ownership while bringing vibrancy to the hallways.
As the project is aimed at providing stable and affordable accommodation for vulnerable Tasmanians, the apartments’ design follows Liveable Housing Design Guidelines and include elements such as generous passageways, step-free thresholds, and accessible showers.