Mantle Apartments is a low scale, affordable housing development providing permanent homes in a managed and supportive environment for people who live with mental illness.
Through our early involvement Archipelago was instrumental in unlocking a brief and site selection process that was languishing between conflicting constraints born in preconceptions around brief and program. We did this through a workshop process which had a very simple premise – ask the people who might live there what they want and need.
Out of this workshop came several key decisions: the preferred locale, that “home” is not exclusively a detached house and actually apartments are OK, and that a smaller apartment in a more connected location was preferable over generous space alone. Collectively the workshop process garnered a high level of support and advocacy for these outcomes and allowed the project to proceed with a clear direction.
Some of the participants commented that they appreciated just being asked, and that actually being involved in the decision making was a new experience for them.
The developed project provided 15 units in a low-medium residential density model, as infill development in a post war suburb in Brisbane. The building bulk and scale was articulated to mediate the existing two storey suburban housing scale with the new denser development, this included limiting the scale at the street to two and one stories and pushing the bulk of the unit away from the neighbours.
The design included managing difficult site constraints around acoustics and flooding, and reconciling these against a tight budget.
It is hopefully the first of many Mantle Housing communities where people with mental illness are supported to live independently in their own homes, in a safe and secure environment that promotes the opportunity for people to live a full and dignified life.