Evergreen is one of the six new Nightingale buildings in ‘The Village’, a unique community of apartment complexes designed and developed by some Australia’s best architects, in an effort to prove how new apartments can be not only liveable, but sustainable, and desirable.
They are all built under the Nightingale’s housing model, with a shared focus on sustainability and community, but each one also has a distinctive personality in its design. ParkLife by Austin Maynard Architects is sunny and yellow, while Leftfield by Kennedy Nolan features warm terracotta tones, and Evergreen by Clare Cousins Architects’ is similarly striking, yet understated.
Textured concrete walls and balconies are enveloped with leafy greenery, as the upper apartments feature a deep-green steel framing that blends into the surrounding parklands. It’s the smallest of the residential precinct, with just 27 apartments inside, and was carefully designed to offer the same qualities of a single-family home, with the added benefits afforded to multi-residential dwellings.
It’s been just over a year since the building was completed, and the residents inside have no regrets putting their name in the coveted ballot to purchase one of these homes!
Alex and her partner Mike had actually ‘come close’ to purchasing a one-bedroom apartment in one of Nightingale’s previous projects, so they knew their value-driven housing would have ‘everything’ they were looking for in apartment. They bought their peaceful, two-bedroom home in Evergreen off-the-plan in 2019.
‘We just loved Clare’s designs from the get-go, the exterior and interiors are so beautiful and timeless,’ Alex says.
Alongside their apartment’s sunset views, three-metre-high ceilings — ‘you just don’t get that in any other new builds’ — she says living beside the shared rooftop garden is another big advantage. ‘It’s pretty great to be able to open our door and our dog Theo can go have a run around on the grass,’ she adds.
The rooftop also features a communal laundry with eight machines, which is a surprisingly practical favourite feature for many of the residents. ‘It’s the place where the best accidental conversations take place,’ says Kate Ryan, who’s family decided to downsize into a three-bedroom home in the building. She says the addition of these shared spaces, like with the sun-filled, open-air entry and central garden on the ground floor have really fostered a ‘sense of togetherness that is special to apartment-living’, she notes.
Clare Cousins Architecture’s pared-back design hides unconventional green spaces across the building, and Kate’s balcony is particularly serene and shrouded in greenery, making their home even more ‘warm and cosy’ to live in all year round — a far cry from the ‘old, cold, and damp’ apartments they once rented in St Kilda.
‘The apartment is simple; with the things we need and nothing extra or superfluous. There is a real attention to detail and real care about the way the building works,’ Kate adds.
Evergreen’s less is more approach to living is something that really resonated with Zibby Valtenbergs and her partner Jed after visiting Taipei, Taiwan. Seeing the city’s architecture made them realise they liked the idea of living in ‘a smaller, beautiful, well-designed space, with parks, shops and transport within walking distance’. Evergreen ticked all the boxes.
‘When we came back, we found out about Evergreen and entered the ballot a few weeks later,’ Zibby adds.
Having lived in tiny cottages, huge warehouses, and run down sharehouses, she says their current home is her first experience of apartment living. And it’s both the ‘easiest’ and the ‘nicest’ place she’s ever lived.
The tight-knit residents recently got together on the building’s rooftop garden to celebrate the building’s one-year anniversary with a party. Zibby says it’s not lost on them that access to wonderful spaces like that ‘wouldn’t be possible’ for most of them if it wasn’t shared.
‘The options out there for people buying in our price bracket often don’t offer any amount of beauty — we’re very lucky.’