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Architecture And Affordable Housing

With careful planning and sustainable means, designing homes at reasonable prices can be realised and offered to the masses.

David HO

As residential property prices increase across the world, architectural firms are coming up with innovative solutions to bring affordability to the market. Asian cities (namely Hong Kong,

Singapore and Shanghai) made the top three in a list of the world’s most expensive cities to buy a house, according to a report by real estate investment company CBRE Group released in April this year.

The report lists the average property price in Singapore as US$874,372. CBRE expects price growth to increase or at least stay, citing “high land prices and healthy demand” as drivers.

Skyrocketing prices are a global issue. From Australia to India, home ownership is an issue for many and governments are now examining the challenge on their hands.

“Affordable housing is a complex issue with many layers. We’re starting to see more government budgets and policies that attempt to improve affordability,” says Bianca Hung, Director of Australian architectural firm Hayball.

Hung believes architects and designers have the skills to deliver housing that addresses these critical issues of affordability, sustainable design and urban density.

“This has taken the form of architect-led development models such as Nightingale Housing and build-to-rent or rent-tobuy concepts like the Assemble Model – essentially bridging the gap between renting and owning your own home,” says Hung.

Nightingale Village is a collaborative project led by Nightingale Housing and includes the work of Hayball and five other Melbourne architects (Architecture Architecture, Austin Maynard Architects, Breathe Architecture, Clare Cousins Architects and Kennedy Nolan), aimed at providing exceptionally designed homes at cost.

The Nightingale Model eliminates the traditional developer and property agent roles, caps project profits paid to investors and does away with unnecessary inputs, such as marketing activities and display units to ensure a lower apartment price for the resident.

This housing model also requires homebuyers to be owner-occupiers and they must agree to certain limitations regarding on-selling their apartment in the future.

These measures are intended to help build strong communities, deter speculative investment and ensure affordability is passed onto the next resident.

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Issue 111