Among various other critical factors, great architecture and design must be informed by societal priorities and values — things that invariably change as time passes. As a result, our buildings change just as our needs and ideals do.

So what does that mean for the Australian residential market? Put simply, our changing circumstances are driving us toward taller, thinner and more shared living spaces.

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Looking to our past

Australian multi residential living has seen a drastic increase in recent years, with the ABS reporting a 78% increase in apartment living between 1991 and 2016.

There’s no doubt that the current residential boom is transforming the way our cities look and the way inner-city dwellers live — increasingly similar to our European counterparts.

Apartment living — the first step

A traditionally foreign concept for Australians, multi residential living began sprouting throughout our cities as standard apartment buildings — multi storey complexes with shared car parks and entry points.

As a result, we began seeing the beginnings of a revolution. Communities were given platforms to slowly form and grow, simply by living in closer proximity.

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Making the move to shared amenities

Communities aren’t the only factors undergoing developments. Multi residential living has now expanded what is exactly included in shared living.

We’ve moved from static function-driven amenities towards more community-based living zones including shared sky gardens, rooftop terraces, gyms and entertaining areas.

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These shared spaces are building and fostering stronger communities beyond the requirement to share, as you would expect with a shared car park, but the desire and option to participate in shared living, as you would expect with communal entertaining areas.

The future of shared living?

If history is anything to go by, we can certainly anticipate continuously developing multi residential and shared living expectations.

Perhaps, however, the future of shared living is already upon us.

The Nightingale Model is a set of housing provision systems and processes specifically designed to address Australia’s growing population and innovate the way we live.

Among its particular set of systems, including complete affordability transparency and environmental sustainability, Nightingale seeks to thoughtfully and intentionally connect communities.

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Nightingale 1

Breathe Architecture, the firm responsible for Nightingale 1 — the very first completed Nightingale project — explains that the vision was all about creating a place people genuinely wanted to live in:

“At its heart, Nightingale is all about people. Its architecture serves as a catalyst to unite a group with similar values and build community.”

In another iteration of the model, Nightingale Village has recently secured planning permit approval for a future precinct in Brunswick, Victoria.

Responsible for one of the precinct’s seven buildings, Hayball’s vision for CRT+YARD revolves around a collection of homes dedicated to the needs of their residents, with a particular focus on building communities.

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Nightingale Village

By embedding purposeful areas for sitting, chatting and congregating, as well as communal facilities including shared rooftop dining opportunities, planters for edible gardens and a communal laundry and drying terrace, Hayball is working to redefine what it means to live in an apartment building.

Is the future upon us?

There’s no doubting that our cities are changing, and as a result, so is the way we live.

So, is multi residential living revolutionising shared living? Or is shared living revolutionising multi residential living? Will the Nightingale Model be our blueprint for future cities?

What we can be sure about is that society is changing — our collectively shifting values and priorities are forcing architects, designers and developers to rethink our homes and cities.

The future is exciting, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

The future of shared living is just scratching the surface — read our report about the Future of Public Design here.