ENVI Micro Urban Village

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  • 2020

  • Architectural
    Commercial and Residential

Designed By:

  • Amy Degenhart
  • degenhartSHEDD architecture + urban design

Commissioned By:

bubbl(up)

Designed In:

Australia

ENVI Micro Urban Village is a pioneering micro-lot development on the Gold Coast that has transformed the image of high-density housing by using architectural curation and design-led development to deliver housing that is both affordable and attractive.


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Tom Anthony
Tom Anthony
Tom Anthony
Tom Anthony
Tom Anthony
Tom Anthony
Tom Anthony
  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • Australia is in the middle of a housing affordability crisis that is locking many young and vulnerable Australians out of the property market, with a serious impact on their financial wellbeing throughout their lives and other associated negative effects over the long term. While government and industry are working to provide more affordable housing, it must usually be located on the outskirts of existing towns and cities to be feasible. However, continuing to push out the boundaries of our suburbs is neither environmentally sound nor socially desirable. Therefore, the challenge was to create housing that was both affordable and desirable.

  • To transform one neglected house into 10 fully detached freehold homes, the project subdivided the block into 10 micro-lots – the smallest just 38 square metres in size. This was made possible by embracing a car-free lifestyle for some lots and using thoughtful design to provide liveable and adaptable spaces on small footprints. In doing so, ENVI created high-rise level density in the heart of the Gold Coast (within easy walking distance of trams, beaches, parks, schools, shops and jobs) in an architecturally curated low-rise built form that respected the character of the local neighbourhood and won over the local community.

  • Not only did the project's high-quality design turn local NIMBYs into YIMBYs, but the development has had a ripple effect on the property industry. Thanks to the proof-of-concept and media attention generated by ENVI, micro-lot housing is gaining traction among planners and developers as a key to providing affordable housing in Australia. By delivering a desirable 2-bedroom home in the heart of the Gold Coast at a price of less than $300,000, ENVI has not only changed the life of this buyer – and the 6 other first homeowners who purchased into the project – but also the conversation around high-density housing.

  • ENVI required a holistic approach to development, which is why Amy took on the unusual role of architect–developer. Putting her money where her mouth was, she invested personally to realise her vision for affordable and attractive high-density housing in Australia. In doing so, she pioneered a design-led approach to development that ensured every aspect of the project – from subdivision planning to the final quality of the build – was guided by achieving positive design outcomes.