This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

The Davison Collaborative: A Game-Changing New Housing Project In Melbourne (+ Home To Three Couples!)

Sustainable Homes

Pooling resources with friends to develop a commune is a dream for some, but very few take the plunge to actually make it happen… Okay, so this property isn’t actually a commune, but it is home to three couples, who came together to develop three sustainable homes on the one Brunswick block!

This project is the first to be created under the ‘Collaborative Development’ blueprint by HIP V. HYPE – a model that allows collaborators to join forces to create quality, more sustainable and financially accessible townhouse-style homes in urban locations. The directors of HIP V. HYPE, Liam Wallis and Katya Crema, are residents here, alongside project collaborators Peter Steele (co-founder of HIP V. HYPE’s sustainability consultancy and recently at GreenSync), Sarah Kearney and baby Mia; and Chris Gilbert (director of Archier, who designed the homes), Miranda Louey and their son Arthur. 

We asked them what’s involved in creating a new property development model, and how it is living next door to your good friends!

14th April, 2020

The Davison Collaborative collaborators and owners: Liam Wallis and Katya Crema (directors of HIP V. HYPE); Peter Steele (co-founder of HIP V. HYPE’s sustainability consultancy and recently at GreenSync) and Sarah Kearney with baby Mia; and Chris Gilbert (director of Archier) and Miranda Louey with their son Arthur. Photo – Tess Kelly

This project saw one post-war replaced with three sustainable, three-bedroom townhouses created under the Collaborative Development model by HIP V. HYPE . Photo – Tess Kelly

‘The site sits 500 metres from the Brunswick Brickworks so that naturally suggested a direction,’ says Chris Gilbert, director of Archier, of the project’s aesthetic. Photo – Tess Kelly

‘The project sits in a transition zone between an old industrial area and residential, hence the building reflects that character with a sawtooth to the laneway and a gable to the street,’ says Chris Gilbert. Photo – Tess Kelly

The houses have nearly identical floorplans except for some slight differences specific to their site. Photo – Tess Kelly

Simple, robust materials make up the interiors. Photo – Tess Kelly

The internal finishes and fixtures were personally selected by each owner.  Photo – Tess Kelly

Archier designed the homes to be timeless, drawing on nearby post-war houses in Melbourne’s inner-north for inspiration. Photo – Tess Kelly

Recycled timber features heavily indoors. Photo – Tess Kelly

The collaborators placed the utmost importance on integrating sustainable measures into the homes, such as solar panels that feed directly into a sonnenBatterie, double-glazed windows, and an energy recovery ventilation system. Photo – Tess Kelly

One of the home’s warm and inviting front doors. Photo – Tess Kelly

HIP V. HYPE are currently working with council and state governments to make changes to the planning scheme required to encourage more of these low-density, inner-city, terrace-style projects. Photo – Tess Kelly

The front yard of the Davison Collaborative is shared in order for the collaborators to best share in the value of the street frontage and come together. Photo – Tess Kelly

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 14th April 2020

‘We see very few compelling reasons as to why a typology like that of the Davison Collaborative should not be built on every block of land with a south facing laneway frontage within 10 kilometres of the CBD.’ – Liam Wallis

The Davison Collaborative is the story of three built environment professionals (an architect, sustainability consultant, and a developer/builder), each in the early stages of their careers, who saw an opportunity to create a better way of building and living. Rather than buying separate lots of land to create individual new houses, these three parties came together to form an entirely new way of developing property to benefit themselves and future generations.

In accordance with the principles of the property development model now known as ‘Collaborative Development’ by HIP V. HYPE, this group has transformed one post-war suburban dwelling in Melbourne’s Brunswick into three sustainable homes. The Collaborative Development model is a legal and financial structure, enabling collaborators to pool financial resources in order to break down the barriers of very high property prices. Its overarching goal is to create access to highly sustainable homes, in well-connected inner-city areas, in a transparent and considered way. 

This particular project was a collaboration between Liam Wallis and Katya Crema, directors of HIP V. HYPE; Sarah Kearney and Peter Steele, co-founder of HIP V. HYPE’s sustainability consultancy and recently at GreenSync; and Miranda Louey and Chris Gilbert, director of Archier.

Archier designed the homes to be robust and timeless, drawing on nearby post-war houses in Melbourne’s inner-north for inspiration. ‘Increasingly we’re becoming bored of ‘modern architecture’ and the generic ‘Instagram aesthetic’,’ says Archier director, Chris Gilbert. ‘Lately we’ve been looking back towards the Victorian and post-war warehouse – we love the concrete lintels and brick detailing.’ The houses have nearly identical floorplans, except for some slight differences specific to their site, with internal finishes and fixtures personally selected by each owner. 

The collaborators placed the utmost importance on integrating sustainable measures into the homes, such as solar panels that feed directly into a sonnenBatterie, double-glazed windows, and an energy recovery ventilation system. Electric heat pumps for hot water and hydronic heating further contribute to the homes achieving an 8+ out of 10 star NatHERS rating. ‘It was a balancing act between a financial reality and the desire to be ambitious and experimental. Ultimately, we biased environmental performance over all else, and we designed within that framework,’ says Chris. 

Liam Wallis and Katya Crema are the first to admit this development model is not for the faint hearted, and involves its fair share of complexities and challenges. ‘We had difficulty convincing the council of the merits of the project through planning approvals, and the banking royal commission significantly increased the cost of finance for the build. Despite these cost increases, we have transformed one post-war family home with a concrete backyard into three brand new, highly sustainable three-bedroom family homes with green yards.’ HIP V. HYPE are currently working with council and state governments to make changes to the planning scheme required to encourage more of these low-density, inner-city, terrace-style projects.

It’s been one month since the Liam and Katya moved into their respective home in the Davison Collaborative project. While COVID-19 has unfortunately limited time spent in their shared front yard so far, they’ve have been appreciating the benefits their little community holds, such as connecting with neighbours when taking the bins out, or taking the dog for a walk. 

Ultimately, the Davison Collaborative project is is a prototype for the future of home design, in Melbourne and beyond. As Liam says, ‘With increasing land prices and a growing population, combined with generally poor quality high density options in inner urban areas, we see very few compelling reasons as to why a typology like that of the Davison Collaborative should not be built on every block of land with a south facing laneway frontage within 10 kilometres of the CBD.’ 

This Week

Gardens

A Grandmother's Accessible, Flower-Filled Dream Garden!

Outdoor Establishments have turned a barren acreage in outer Sydney into an elderly client's dream garden featuring Eco Outdoor products.

Shopping

The Aboriginal-Owned Homewares Brand Bringing First Nations Art To Homes + Classrooms Across Australia!

Bundjalung/Minjungbal woman Emma Rolls of Emro Designs shares her collection of rugs, cushions and soon-to-be-released picnic mats featuring...

Architecture

A Malaysian-Inspired Adaptable House In Brisbane

'Three House' by architect John Ellway sees three pavilions brought together as one breathable, flexible home in Paddington.

Homes

A Modern Family’s Treetop Rental Property

The heartwarming North Warrandyte rental of Tilly Barber, her six-year-old son Mars, and friends Albee Barton and Justyn Burrow.

Art

The Secret Mystical Paintings of International Art Sensation, Hilma af Klint

The visionary Swedish artist’s enormous colourful artworks were hidden from the world for decades. Now, they are on show at Art Gallery of...

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life of ‘Hamilton’ Star, Chloé Zuel

We go behind the scenes of the Australian production of the most famous musical in the world - with Eliza Hamilton herself!

Creative People

A Truly Magical Tapestry Collaboration Between Local Artists + Weavers

Works by Eugenia Lim, Atong Atem, Troy Emery and Hayley Millar Baker were recrafted as tapestries by weavers at the Australian Tapestry Work...

In Print

A Rustic Shed Accommodation On The Victorian Surfcoast Hinterland

Lose yourself in the classic Lynda Gardener aesthetic with her new book 'Curate: Inspiration for an Individual Home' published by Hachette A...
Ali Heath

Architecture

An Architect’s Reworking Of Sir Roy Grounds’ Former Balmain Home

A heritage 1970s house in Balmain once owned by Sir Roy Grounds has been its re-engineered by its present owner, architect Conrad Johnston o...

Interiors

This Revamped Edwardian Home Has A Different Mood For Every Room

Interior Designer Georgina Jeffries delivers a classic yet contemporary makeover of a heritage home – where moments of delight are everywh...

Studio Visit

The Amazing Art-Making Of Thea Anamara Perkins

The Arrernte and Kalkadoon artist is renowned for her vivid, personal portraits of prominent First Nations figures. We talked to the accompl...

Architecture

A Dessert-Inspired ‘60s Home Makeover!

From banana Paddle Pop yellow, to chocolatey timber, this 1960s home makeover by Wowowa brings colour and personality to this mid century ho...

Creative People

Andalusian-Inspired Lampshades, Handwoven In Sydney

Lana Launay makes her textured light covers from natural materials such as coffee-stained raffia, coconut shell rope and bamboo yarn.

Stays

A Quaint + Charming Holiday Cottage That Feels Like Home

Lotte's Hjem is a 150-year-old weatherboard nestled in the heart of Pambula on the Sapphire Coast.

Food

Julia's Miso Salmon Bowl With Udon Noodles And Crunchy Greens

The onset of winter and lockdown in Victoria means we're back in comfort food mode – and this warm miso salmon bowl with crunchy greens h...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A House Full of Texture For A Family of Makers

A red brick masterpiece for a painter, a builder and their mechnically-minded sons in Northcote!
Sasha Gattermayr

Tiny Homes

A 'Minimum Dwelling' Studio Apartment That Maximises Every Inch

Minimal interventions and clever partitioning make the most of this this tiny studio apartment in Fitzroy.
Sasha Gattermayr

A Longer Read

Nightingale Housing Wants You To Own A Great Apartment

We tour Nightingale 1, a brand new apartment building in Melbourne shaking up inner-city development.

This Week

Creative People

A Truly Magical Tapestry Collaboration Between Local Artists + Weavers

Works by Eugenia Lim, Atong Atem, Troy Emery and Hayley Millar Baker were recrafted as tapestries by weavers at the Australian Tapestry Work...

Studio Visit

The Amazing Art-Making Of Thea Anamara Perkins

The Arrernte and Kalkadoon artist is renowned for her vivid, personal portraits of prominent First Nations figures. We talked to the accompl...

Architecture

An Architect’s Reworking Of Sir Roy Grounds’ Former Balmain Home

A heritage 1970s house in Balmain once owned by Sir Roy Grounds has been its re-engineered by its present owner, architect Conrad Johnston o...

Art

The Secret Mystical Paintings of International Art Sensation, Hilma af Klint

The visionary Swedish artist’s enormous colourful artworks were hidden from the world for decades. Now, they are on show at Art Gallery of...

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life of ‘Hamilton’ Star, Chloé Zuel

We go behind the scenes of the Australian production of the most famous musical in the world - with Eliza Hamilton herself!

Architecture

A Dessert-Inspired ‘60s Home Makeover!

From banana Paddle Pop yellow, to chocolatey timber, this 1960s home makeover by Wowowa brings colour and personality to this mid century ho...

Stays

A Quaint + Charming Holiday Cottage That Feels Like Home

Lotte's Hjem is a 150-year-old weatherboard nestled in the heart of Pambula on the Sapphire Coast.

Interiors

This Revamped Edwardian Home Has A Different Mood For Every Room

Interior Designer Georgina Jeffries delivers a classic yet contemporary makeover of a heritage home – where moments of delight are everywh...

Food

Julia's Miso Salmon Bowl With Udon Noodles And Crunchy Greens

The onset of winter and lockdown in Victoria means we're back in comfort food mode – and this warm miso salmon bowl with crunchy greens h...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Architecture

A Malaysian-Inspired Adaptable House In Brisbane

'Three House' by architect John Ellway sees three pavilions brought together as one breathable, flexible home in Paddington.

Shopping

The Aboriginal-Owned Homewares Brand Bringing First Nations Art To Homes + Classrooms Across Australia!

Bundjalung/Minjungbal woman Emma Rolls of Emro Designs shares her collection of rugs, cushions and soon-to-be-released picnic mats featuring...

Gardens

A Grandmother's Accessible, Flower-Filled Dream Garden!

Outdoor Establishments have turned a barren acreage in outer Sydney into an elderly client's dream garden featuring Eco Outdoor products.

Homes

A Modern Family’s Treetop Rental Property

The heartwarming North Warrandyte rental of Tilly Barber, her six-year-old son Mars, and friends Albee Barton and Justyn Burrow.

In Print

A Rustic Shed Accommodation On The Victorian Surfcoast Hinterland

Lose yourself in the classic Lynda Gardener aesthetic with her new book 'Curate: Inspiration for an Individual Home' published by Hachette A...
Ali Heath

Creative People

Andalusian-Inspired Lampshades, Handwoven In Sydney

Lana Launay makes her textured light covers from natural materials such as coffee-stained raffia, coconut shell rope and bamboo yarn.

Similar Stories

Architecture

A House Full of Texture For A Family of Makers

A red brick masterpiece for a painter, a builder and their mechnically-minded sons in Northcote!
Sasha Gattermayr

Tiny Homes

A 'Minimum Dwelling' Studio Apartment That Maximises Every Inch

Minimal interventions and clever partitioning make the most of this this tiny studio apartment.
Sasha Gattermayr

A Longer Read

Nightingale Housing Wants You To Own A Great Apartment

We tour Nightingale 1, a brand new apartment building in Melbourne shaking up inner-city development.

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.