Common Ground Dickson

Housing is a fundamental human need. Access to safe, affordable, and comfortable shelter should be universal.

Project Details

Location: Dickson, ACT

Completion: 2022

Common Ground Dickson is a unique housing initiative aimed at addressing homelessness in the ACT by providing permanent housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness. The model is based on Housing First principles combined with wraparound support services to create a “common ground” where residents can thrive.

As the second Common Ground in Canberra, Dickson addresses gaps identified by the ACT Government where social housing services need strengthening, specifically for older women, single mothers, and families with children. Every aspect of the building has been utilised to contribute to the CGD philosophy. The eastern section of the project is designed for families, while smaller units are buffered by a central landscaped courtyard. The circulation space on each level is generously proportioned and filled with natural light and ventilation to increase well-being and reduce apprehension. These spaces are also accentuated at key moments to allow opportunity to pause and welcome incidental social interaction between residents and support providers. At ground level you’ll find managed public spaces including reception, support provider offices, a large multipurpose social space, art studio, and a social enterprise café. These spaces are confidently engaged with a north facing plaza that connects the development to the precinct.

Sited within a precinct identified for renewal and linked to the town centre via the Dickson Creek Corridor, Common Ground Dickson has been designed with both embodied and operational sustainability in mind. The project is fully electrified, with an extensive solar array and storm water harvesting systems. The building footprint has been optimised to increase landscaping and deep-rooted planting zones. The units are designed to maximise northern exposure and reduce energy consumption through the use of thermally broken windows, high levels of insulation, and durable materials to minimise ongoing maintenance. This ensures the building not only a safe and supportive environment for its tenants but also a cost-effective living solution.