the switch in perth is an exemplar of coliving
The Switch on Wellington Street is an example of co-living in Perth. Photography: Dion Robeson.
  • Western Australia comprises 80% single detached houses.
  • Alternative types of homes make up only 0.6% of our housing in WA.
  • Co-living is one alternative, with The Switch an example of co-living in Perth.

A series of affordable housing thoughts and ideas by Perth’s leading architects continues with this piece by MJA Studio Design Director, Jimmy Thompson, with photography by Dion Robeson.

Your expectations and aspirations for a home change over your lifetime. The castle you drew as a child is vastly different from your uni share house, first home with a partner, family home with kids, downsized empty nester or post-divorce pad.

Yet in Western Australia, 80% of our homes are single detached houses and 84% have three or more bedrooms. Then there are home units, townhouses and apartments.

Alternative types of homes make up only 0.6% of our housing in WA but are worth considering for more affordable options. Quite simply, not everyone needs or wants a backyard.

the switch is one exmaple in perth of co living
Photography: Dion Robeson.

Any conversation around housing affordability needs to take into consideration the different phases of your life and the changing expectations and aspirations for your home. A city with greater choice of housing size will naturally provide more affordable options for its residents.

What is co-living?

Co-living is a type of housing that is open to any age group. It prioritises communal space over private space and seeks to provide building-run services that create convenience for the resident.

Co-living in Perth

A good example is The Switch on Wellington Street, Perth which currently provides short, medium and long-term accommodation for residents aged 18-71 years.

There are 483 beds across 288 apartments distributed vertically over 40 storeys.

The apartment mix ensures a variety of apartments to suit different lifestyles with single and twin studios to four and five bed cluster rooms.

The smaller scale of the individual rooms contributes to their rental affordability and is offset by 1,400 square metres of indoor and outdoor shared amenity including a café, pod cast recording room, kitchen, lounge, gym and roof terrace.

The single ensuite studios are designed for people living by themselves or couples whereas the twin studios with shared bathroom are best suited to close friends or brothers and sisters.

The clustered apartments benefit from much larger living and kitchen spaces. A four bed cluster with ensuite bathrooms suits groups who might not know one another whereas a five bed cluster with shared bathrooms can suit a group of friends or family members.

Affordable rents

The weekly cost of each of the fully furnished room options lies well below the Perth median rental price and includes all utility bills, unlimited wi-fi, gym membership and access to all common areas.

Reducing upfront construction costs also contributes to affordability for the residents, such as no on-site parking because the building is close to public transport and residents can walk to the Perth CBD shops and offices as well as low maintenance materials and minimising applied decorative finishes.

This 5-star Greenstar project, now 100% occupied was delivered turnkey for $100,000 per bed and demonstrates that co-living is a worthy and welcome addition to Perth’s housing choices.

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