by Neometro

Urban Wellness: The Architecture of Happiness

Architecture - by Laura Phillips

Open Journal invites you to our High Density Happiness series of panel discussions at the MPavilion.

This Wednesday 25 November join Open Journal at 6pm with guest speakers James Tutton, Director of Neometro, Addie Wooten, CEO of Smiling Mind and Kaj Lofgren Director of The School of Life Melbourne to discuss how wellness and urban living go hand in hand.

In preparation for the discussion we take a look at the architecture of happiness: designing apartments that make us happy.

Neometro Airley Bank Lane

Airley Bank Lane

Unsurprisingly, new purchasers prefer apartments that maximise the feeling of space.

Our feeling of wellbeing in a space is dependent on levels of comfort and security, which allows us to relax and shelter from the anxiety and discomfort that plagues our life outside of the home, be it at work, commuting or managing a busy social schedule.

The architectural elements that achieve these optimal levels of wellbeing are often undefinable at first glace.

We know how we feel in poorly designed apartments- claustrophobic and irritable- yet an apartment the same size can on the other hand feel light and spacious if it is well designed. A well-designed apartment can make us feel happy spend a weekend there, pottering about amongst our books and indoor plants, regardless of a prescribed size.

The feeling of space is frequently drawn from our line of sight.

High ceilings are a good example; if we have to tilt our neck back in order to see the ceiling, we are assured a space is ample in air and light.

126 Walsh Street by Neometro

126 Walsh Street

Dwarfed by a greater scale, we gain a sense of perspective, pulling our thoughts from the angst of our day into proportion, allowing us to come out of our heads to appreciate the view from the window. We feel calm hearing noises from the street down below, knowing we are removed and sheltered from the anxiety they bring.

There are a number of architectural elements designed to bring this feeling of space and wellbeing to our residents which Neometro applies across all projects. Neometro recently conducted research into what is important to our buyer, what they are looking for in their apartment.

The survey found purchasers were unwilling to compromise poor design for a lower price. Quality of fixtures and finishes is important, but no amount of added joinery can make up for efficient, highly functional base design.

Our survey found that buyers would pay more for elements that elevate the line of sight and enhance an apartment’s feeling of space, such as fully tiled bathrooms, full height doors and frameless shower screens.


41 Darling Street

Temperature control is an element that is essential to good design, yet is so often victim to value management.

Apartments poorly constructed with plastic fibre or plasterboard cladding struggle to breathe, loosing heat in winter and roasting in summer.

The consequence is leaving residents dependent on air-conditioning, a costly affair for bills and carbon emissions alike. One study quoted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development had found that concrete walls reduce energy requirements for a typical home by 17%.

Coupled with window sizes positioned to enhance airflow and facilitate passive cooling, air-conditioning can be made to be redundant.

Approaching design with the wellbeing of the future resident in mind, rather than the margin for profit, is unfortunately rare.

126 Walsh Street

126 Walsh Street

Exposed concrete is an enduring tenant of Neometro projects. The textures and hues that comes with smooth concrete finishes is being embraced by industrial inspired commercial spaces, but it has taken time to be accepted in the residential market.

Interviewed at the start of 2012, Neometro’s founder and Director Jeff Provan spoke on the topic, “when you tell buyers the apartment has a concrete ceiling, they won’t be receptive to it until they see it for themselves in the environment.”

The uptake of concrete into hospitality, retail and office spaces have heralded a shift. From our research, 82.3% of respondents would consider concrete ceilings in their bedroom if it resulted in greater ceiling height.

Harper Lane

Harper Lane

Aside from affording greater ceiling height, exposed concrete has excellent thermal mass; ensuring apartments are cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Concrete also ensures sound acoustic treatment, an essential quality of a functional design. A space feels calm and relaxing if it’s protected from unwanted noise from other the street and from our neighbours.

Utilising exposed concrete in ceiling treatments is highly energy efficient, which often comes as a surprise. Concrete requires 1.5% of the energy it takes to produce stainless steel and 0.5% of the energy it takes to produce aluminium.

Internal amenity is paramount. A feeling of spaciousness can be directly attributed to the amount of visual sky and greenery in a space. An apartment doesn’t have to have the best view, but if it’s designed well, it will maximise natural light and incorporate an internal garden to heighten the feeling of space.

George Corner

George Corner

Happiness is defined by architecture. Ensuring apartment designs maximise the feeling of space and comfort is fundamental and a standard held at the core of Neometro’s business.


Join our discussion on the architecture of happiness at the MPavilion.



High Density Happiness


MPavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne


Urban Wellness – 6pm, 25 November 2015




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