Living laneways: Designing better solutions to urban space

Living laneways: Designing better solutions to urban space

An architectural collaboration is repurposing and re-embracing Melbourne’s iconic laneways to connect them with surrounding communities, and challenge notions of how and where we live.

Australian cities have no shortage of laneways, either in city streets or backing on to suburban housing blocks, but many of them are underutilised and overlooked when it comes to development.

MINI Living – Invert 3.0, a collaborative project between RMIT University, MINI , Green Press and City of Melbourne is seeing the potential offered by these underused urban corridors.

Emerging and established architects and Master of Architecture students were invited to find new ways to use the spaces.

They seized the opportunity to design a multipurpose secondary living space at the rear of a suburban house in Melbourne suburb Northcote, that answered a growing need for increased flexibility and community interaction.

Scale models of their designs will be - fittingly - displayed at CBD laneway venue Rapha Melbourne from 13 – 17 November.

A model produced by RMIT Architecture students A model produced by RMIT Architecture students

Alongside the architects’ submissions, the students will present their research, drawings and larger-scale 2.5 square metre models - including a design for a shared “forest” between neighbouring properties.

The project marks the third year that RMIT students had been invited to come onboard the industry-led collaboration.

School of Architecture and Urban Design Program Manager and Master of Urban Design Lecturer Ian Nazareth said the continuing involvement of RMIT students provided a platform for the next generation of designers to share their ideas.

“The project allowed students to work collaboratively on research and design with industry partners to offer new solutions to pressing issues of housing affordability and urban density, as well as creating and nurturing new urban communities,” he said.

Architecture student Cody McConnel said his design proposal - housing for exchange students - aimed to repurpose the laneway space to create a stronger sense of community and culture.

“We need to design smarter for the future – we can’t just keep expanding,” McConnel said.

Green Magazine editor Tamsin O’Neill said that the exhibition highlighted the virtues of laneways, and expanded the inner-city laneway model to the suburbs.

Story: Jasmijn van Houten

12 November 2019


12 November 2019


  • Student experience
  • Industry
  • Architecture
  • Urban Design

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