Dunlop Avenue Housing Project

WGA AU | Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec - Dunlop Avenue - Housing Project

New benchmarks in social housing at Dunlop Avenue, Ascot Vale

When it comes to resolving socioeconomic problems, we are always on the solution side of the equation.

In doing so, we are helping Victoria address one of the most pressing challenges today – the need for more social and affordable housing.

As part of the Victorian Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build, Homes Victoria engaged WGA to provide engineering services on the $104 million redevelopment of Dunlop Avenue, Ascot Vale to provide 200 new social and affordable homes.

The new homes set benchmarks for well designed, quality social housing, and provide modern, comfortable one, two and three bedroom homes to renters.

According to the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, 4 out of every 10 Australian households live in social housing. In Victoria, the demand for social housing has risen dramatically to 45% over the past four years.

Located less than 10 km from Melbourne City, the Dunlop Avenue development presents a sophisticated design, incorporates mature trees and gardens. The intentional absence of physical boundaries, like fencing, promotes social interaction, integration, and inclusivity among residents and the neighbourhood. Each building features special amenities like BBQ seating, shared community garden plots, basement car parks, bicycle storage, waste management and secure access.

Designing for safety and functionality

Our work in this project took on the forms of civil and structural design. Overall, we helped to create a functional, and well-built development that ensures the structures’ long-term stability and safety.

On the Civil design, we focused on several key elements, including the earthworks, which involved:

  • Shaping and modifying the terrain to accommodate the new structures.
  • Stormwater management system, ensuring proper drainage and preventing flooding during heavy rainfall.
  • The footpath and walkway design paid attention to safe and accessible pathways for residents and visitors within the development.
  • To address changes in ground elevation, we implemented retaining walls to stabilize and support the terrain where needed.

Our Structural design works were equally crucial, including:

  • The design of precast basement retention walls provides support and stability to the underground levels of the buildings.
  • The foundation design included appropriate footings and a basement slab, ensuring a strong and reliable base for the structures.
  • The suspended floor slab design for the building’s upper levels provides a solid and stable flooring system.
  • The structural integrity of the concrete walls to withstand lateral forces, such as those generated by earthquakes and wind loadings, ensures the buildings’ safety and durability during adverse conditions.
  • The structural steel roof framing design formed the building’s roof system framework. This ensured that the roofs were stable, structurally sound, and capable of supporting the necessary loads.

The design works developed by our engineering team successfully overcame several challenges, including the design and adaptation to a sloping site with 14m of fall across the site, and accommodating three distinct founding conditions due to varying geological conditions across the project area.


“As a Structural Engineer it is not often that we get to see our completed projects, as our involvement is minimal after the structure is constructed. So, it was great to be able to tour the completed facility, and even better to be able to show my lovely wife and children a project that I have worked on, especially one that makes such a big difference in our local area.”
Michael Harnack, WGA Technical Director 


Going green

The building was created to be liveable, sustainable, and accessible, with both internal and external facilities designed with longevity in mind. With 5-star Green Star rating and 7-star NatHERS the dwelling ensures that it is cheaper to heat and cool, saving residents money on energy bills. The use of solar panels to power rooftop hot water, rainwater collection for landscape irrigation and toilet flushing, and energy-efficient wall lights are all great ways to reduce power and resource consumption.

Image Credit: Michael Harnack

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