Spare Thoughts Landscape Design

Ian Fenton

Sustainable Thinking Ahead of the Rest

A new apartment project in Glen Waverley is turning heads for its originality, smart design and the forward thinking approach to building and living with sustainability at its heart.


For most young Melburnians, the possibility of buying a home with a backyard close to the city is no longer a dream but pure fiction. We would love to have access to private green space but can’t afford the price tag, especially if we also want to keep a short commute.


In the inner city there are plenty of apartments, but in a shaky market some of these small spaces are financially less appealing, especially when considered as a major life purchase. They also lack appeal on many other fronts, when we consider the lifestyle we’re really after and our modern day desires for productive green spaces.


But the tide is changing, and some new developments are thinking outside the square in terms of livability and sustainability. Philosopher’s Hill in Glen Waverley is leading this shift towards efficient use of urban space without compromising either livability or productivity. Setting a precedent in the suburbs, Philosopher’s Hill has an expected 8 star natHERS rating, making it one of the most energy efficient apartment buildings in the state.


Aspects and design of the building have been carefully considered to maximise natural light and generate passive solar heating and cooling. The building itself is also eco-friendly, courtesy of low embodied energy materials such as fly-ash concrete, recycled steel beams and a recycled timber façade. These aspects pair with the use of double glazed windows, basement subfoil and insulating door and window frames to ensure occupiers attain the lowest energy footprint possible. The three story complex houses six two bedroom homes, with one or two bathrooms apiece. Each home has an accommodating living space, which flows onto a generous balcony through bi-fold doors. There is on-site parking for all residents with lift access to upper floors, and a communal rooftop with great views over the Dandenong Ranges.


The apartments have a warm rustic interior style to make you feel immediately at home, but it is the impressive rooftop garden that will make you want to stay forever. A beautiful jacaranda tree by an arbour with a wood fired pizza oven on the roof will provide residents with the ideal setting to have dinner with friends, while planter boxes and balcony rain gardens are ready for residents to grow their
household herbs and vegetables. Landscaping is done with a purpose; gardens full of natives and edibles will give residents a distinct feeling of connection to nature and harmony, while the native lawn on the roof and other permeable surfaces will help to slow and catch rainwater in a ground level catchment, limiting damage to local waterways and reducing usage.


For couples, young families and downsizers alike, Philosopher’s Hill offers an opportunity to buy something you’ll love, that you can afford and is good for the environment. Close to reserves, key services and public transport, buildings like this are changing how we think about living. Such a building will set a precedent for Glen Waverley and the suburbs of Melbourne, and more like it will help meet housing demand, while reducing the need for ugly suburban skyscrapers and sprawling greenfield developments. If you want to support a shift to this kind of sustainable development in your city, and would like to help this development set a positive example for the local building
industry, please visit the link below to send in a letter of support to Monash City Council and  help us make this planning proposal reality.

Supporting the Philosopher’s Hill Project –

Features of Philosopher’s Hill:
 1.5kw solar panel installation provided with strata title to each individual apartment
 Sustainable fly-ash used to strengthen and minimise embodied energy of cement
 Brickwork completed with efficient Timbercrete blocks and Green Energy Bricks
 Insulated uPVC window and door frames with double glazed glass and custom doors
 Ground level rain water catchment to supply water to irrigation system and amenities
 Recycled steel beams, locally sourced salvaged cabinetry and recycled timber façades
 Green spaces on site, designed to maximise food production and attract native birds
 Passive solar heating, well designed aspects and great views that won’t be built out
 Reduced common property costs; reduced energy bills through solar and building design
 Close to public transport and services, bicycle storage available in basement
 Walking distance to some of the state’s best public primary and secondary schools
 Ten minute bus ride away from Monash University and TAFE facilities.