City Edge Housing Development, South Melbourne, 1971-1974
Image: Architectural Model - City Edge Housing Development
Source: Museum Victoria
The set of low-rise, high-density flats and town houses which comprise City Edge was one of the earliest attempts in 1970's Melbourne to provide an alternative to the typical suburban house and the high-rise apartment block. On a large inner suburban site in South Melbourne, this scheme of three and five storey buildings found a balance between public and private space in a large scaled housing project. How to live close together and gain all the benefits of the single family house was the problem to be solved by the architects. Between each row of houses and flats there is an elevated footpath which is connected by ramp and stairs to the street and to the communal garden in the centre of the scheme; this footpath is a public pedestrian street. The cars are hidden on ground level below. Private gardens, balconies, front doors, and the location of each block close to the street, recall the individuality of the surrounding 19th century terrace houses and the character of a cohesive streetscape. Built in soft tan brick, concrete and stained timber, and with shops built into the scheme, the idea of a homogeneous village amidst native landscaping was for the average Melburnian a daring proposal for a new idea of home.