The Density and Diversity Done Well open ideas competition received 100 submissions from across Australia.

A jury of industry experts, representing key industry bodies, have reviewed and judged the submissions. Jury Chair and Queensland Government Architect, Malcolm Middleton, said he was delighted that designers from across Australia has really embraced the challenge to deliver well-designed, medium-density housing and mixed-use development across the state.

‘The entries cover a wide variety of building types from micro housing to duplex and terraces, through to compact apartments’, Mr Middleton said.

‘The submissions clearly demonstrate the huge potential for both variety and creativity that the missing middle has to offer’.

All entries are published anonymously below.

Competition statistics

80 20 100
61 19 12 8
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SubmissionDescription by each designer
The 'Urban Cocktail' mixed-use precinct is designed for areas undergoing densification and requiring provision for more diverse building typologies. The Neighbourhood Block design offers an enhanced streetscape/public domain by integrating dedicated cycling and pedestrian pathways (full perimeter), shade trees and shared courtyard for the local community. The design invites the local neighbourhood and community into the site by incorporating mixed building typologies such as cafes, public halls/spaces, co-working spaces, galleries, offices, retail outlets and flexible/undefined spaces (and more!).
Designer: Trace Studio Architects
The Permeable House provides an alternative approach to small lot subdivisions in Brisbane, that activates streetscape, and improves energy efficiency, while allowing for increased density and a better sense of community.
Live/work house proposal attempts to create the space for creative industries workers which require large space and privacy and those may only require small office space or home-based businesses located in a subtropical climate and growing population areas like Brisbane and suburbs.
Designed for South East Queensland, this design greatly increases density by doubling the number of dwellings on a standard lot and enhances the neighbourhood through shared common space.
The design is best suited for suburbs consisting of mainly post war houses.
Located in Ipswich. A southern suburb of Brisbane, our planning contributes to positive growth throughout the fringe suburb. Street designation is primarily focused around efficient green gas powered busses and cycling highways in parallel with the transportation corridors. The widget design contributes to unique place making in architecture through maintaining community pockets of production, the 'common ground'.
Designer: Parti Architects
‘Middle Park Village’ is located in an inner suburb of a regional centre in the dry-tropics. The site has been pedestrianised and ‘gifts’ a public green-space to the community.
The design retro fits an existing elevated Queenslander house in a typical inner urban Brisbane suburb. The design activates the street interface with additional living spaces inserted at ground level.
The Side House Project is an exploration of small footprint infill housing within established urban areas. It looks at how architects can plan sustainable housing solutions on sites which may be overlooked for that purpose. It is a housing model which delivers sought after amenity and liveability in an architectural design targeting smaller footprint infill sites in and around established, well serviced urban zones.
The Treehouses fit suburban areas whose urban zeitgeist acknowledges sustainability via exemplars in very low carbon places and lifestyles that integrate and enhance opportunities for neighbourhood interaction through appropriate design.
The proposed housing scheme is located on the south western corner of the block occupying two sites existing sites engaging with what is deemed the major public road. The scheme gives amenity and public space to the neighbourhood and community.
This subtropical housing typology encourages community interactions by inverting the typical suburban block layout, pushing the backyard to the street and capitalising on the previously underutilised boundary setback areas for the dwellings.
Reclaim House rethinks traditional methods of residential design and siting. Non-specific spaces within the house design enables layout flexibility. Minimal building footprint increases usable outdoor spaces, ‘reclaiming’ outdoor space and green zones.
A typical suburban site in a SEQ city. Integration is encouraged through public walkways and open space. Safety and amenity achieved because all areas are either used or visually open.
Suburban areas within 600m of a sub-arterial road or high-frequency public transport corridor with a road traffic hierarchy that creates ‘Local Streets’ with low-speed environments and pedestrian priority.
Civic Middle facilitates an incremental and civic trajectory for Brisbane’s outer suburban densification and development and still preserves and retains much of the character and identity of the suburbs.
The design, located in suburban South-East Queensland, is similar in scale to existing suburban houses with an attached dwelling at the rear therefore retaining the existing suburban streetscape.
The proposal is located within Brisbane’s post-war suburbs. It retains the existing timber cottages that characterise this neighbourhood, raises them up, and places micro dwellings within and behind these homes.
Located in a typical suburban subdivision in southeast Queensland, the Greenway proposal re-invents the concept of interlocking green spaces while increasing urban density.
FirstMover is a concept: a hybrid of the townhouse and live/work building types. The initial development that is the catalyst for a broader transition to a diverse, dynamic neighbourhood.
The scheme activates the neighbourhood, providing services in the immediate environment that would not normally be possible.
The proposal consists of 3 types of dwellings on a lot for families, lone person, couples and elderlies to live and perform business activities to strengthen the bond of community.
The design recognizes a community’s own potential in making Queensland suburbia a vibrant and engaging setting, House plus Home provides the framework for this to occur.
Low scale, cross-generational, central green pedestrian link, courtyards creating sub-neighbourhoods and clusters of entrance-ways. Situated just outside the metropolitan area located in walk-able distance to schools, work and shops.
My design is located in your typical inner city Brisbane suburb. With the first habitable level above ground this lends back to the public realm and encourages interaction with residents and passers-by. It also encourages connection to other similar developments and other houses in the block
Post war suburban SEQ. 'The Cubby' creates activation of the street through small residential and commercial uses in keeping with Queensland vernacular through design evolution, reduced setbacks to encourage community interaction.
Located in the 10-15 km inner suburban ring of Brisbane, "Forever Home" seeks to increase suburban density whilst retaining the character of local neighbourhood streetscape.
Located in a low-density suburb in Brisbane, a quiet neighbourhood is transformed with suburban activation nodes. These nodes are privately delivered and managed, or can be community delivered and managed.
The “Brisbane Double Back Terrace” is for the Brisbane Metro Area. Its proportions are based on the familiar Queenslander worker’s-cottage so as to blend seamlessly into the extant suburban fabric. The pay-off for sacrificing a back yard is three open aspects allowing for natural cross ventilation.
The proposal is located in Brisbane in an area of mixed density. The design encourages the idea of interaction with the street, the areas created between the street + buildings, and the areas created between buildings. The provision of communal/shared areas encourages the concept of communal living and community between neighbours.
Location: Sub Tropical Queensland. Positive Design Outcomes: increased density compatible with surrounding lower density; permeable open space that encourages active lifestyle; diversity of accommodation and activity; affordability and sustainability measures
Located in a typical flat neighbourhood block in Cannon hill Brisbane, the new short and fragmented pieces of architecture connect all backyards and make an urban shortcut.
The design is located in the suburbs of Brisbane. The design looks at the traditional 'Queenslander' vernacular and introduction elements a medium density apartment typology. the design has investigated opportunities to provide active frontage at ground, large planted verges for significant trees and minimises driveways.
Plus One allows residents to unlock front yard space and create footpath air rights. Owners control development, decide when to start the planning approval process and how completed Plus One buildings may be shared, rented, leased or sold.
Small footprint, carbon neutral and energy efficient living... providing density and diversity without losing the positive attributes of openness and nature within our garden suburbs surrounding the city.
The project, located in an established inner city Brisbane suburb consists of Queenslander’s and workers cottages from pre 1946 as well as modern houses from the 1970’s. The proposed design addresses the projects integration with the street, local neighbourhood and community by: - Offering a design with a street frontage that minimises the overall impact and appearance of increased densification of the area by adopting a typology that utilises the depth of the lot to conceal the number of additional dwellings. From the street there will be an appearance of a total of three dwellings where two existed previously.
Retrofix explores opportunities to consolidate and increase amenity through sharing, increase density, promote community and improve streetscape quality and walkability within a typical suburban block in Holland Park.
The design's strength is its adaptability. It will excel by providing households with more floor space to allow for extended families to integrate and live on Queensland's over sized land parcels. Utilising land that is often left untouched and rundown.
"A common house" introduces a collective space to the suburban lifestyle where residents can enjoy the perks of owning a house that keeps the urban fabric whilst sharing the costs.
The proposal is located notionally in Brisbane on local and neighbourhood Roads. Flexibility and amenity are the basis of this strategic approach. The inherent flexibility built into the design approach allows for staging, the envelope's bulk, its height and the density outcomes. Amenity is built into the design via rules governing access to sun, cross ventilation and building bulk.
The design is located in a residential neighbourhood close to transport and shops. The design increases density without overwhelming the residential streetscape character and provides open shared spaces.
The diverse range of indoor and outdoor living and working spaces in a sub-tropical location orientate to the street and the private and community gardens, providing spaces to connect and socialise while also encouraging the local neighbourhood into the active community within.
The Paired Twin House proposal is shown located in a typical Brisbane suburb. Intensified green streets create healthy and safe spaces adjacent to flexible, private homes. The human scale and desirable green qualities of suburbia are retained whilst injecting diverse density for positive growth.
Designer: Studio GL
Lane by lane incrementally transforms Brisbane’s low density suburbs into a more diverse adaptable structure which combines flexible dwellings and co-located tropical gardens with a new network of shared laneways.
Located in a city-fringe SEQ suburb the design embraces traditional approaches to siting residential buildings, providing a porous ground plane, social and active street frontages, and a familiar material and landscape language.
This proposal creates a diverse community within itself of housing, retail and offices. As such, it can be located anywhere across Brisbane without any reliance on public infrastructure.
16 Perches is a practical solution that seeks to increase housing choice and densities. This is targeted towards meeting the missing middle criteria on 405m2 lots. It seeks to achieve this by balancing both its innovative design and by promoting neighbourhood integration and diversity.
Locates in one of the eastern suburb approximately 20km from Brisbane CBD. Within its low-density setting, residents commute to work and shops by private vehicle, the nearest park and ride facility is about 5 minutes drive from home.
The Urban Pixel concept uses a concept of sensitive infill by inserting small scale homes into the rear of a lot that open up to a community greenspace. From the street, small scale ‘shoplots’ are bolted onto existing residences to create variety and interest along the streetscape.
Our design is slotted underneath existing houses that are raised. It mediates and sets the spatial hierarchy, easing one from the streets, to the cumulated communal programs in the back.
‘IN-BETWEEN HOUSE’ is located in the middle of a pair of existing dwellings. This 3-story house makes neighbours invite to a rear garden as a new community space.
A typical suburban setting. The proposal is for an informal density adding two new housing types - triplets and long semi’s with a number of existing dwellings on the block retained so as to maximise housing diversity"
Located in Gordon Park, 5km north of Brisbane’s CBD, our proposal embraces a ‘total community’ approach, emphasising public and shared zones within the neighbourhood, embracing affordability, community, flexibility and sustainability.
Location: Inner ring of suburbia Street Integration: Activating the street by providing tenancies on the lower level. Local neighbourhood: Increases density by activating and enhance the existing green space. Community: Provides opportunities for formal and informal integration and communication.
The concept builds on the existing built form of suburban Brisbane by acknowledging the character of the past, while providing an adaptable solution for gentle density in the future.
The latent side setback is re purposed as a new dwelling arranged along a linear landscape, an interstitial space between existing and new and forming an open connection to the street
The design is located Brisbane Suburbia, through densification the design creates an active street through the occupation of ground floor of micro business serving the communities and ground floor residences.
This submission proposes a Strategy that can be implemented in Queensland and even entire Australia. Public Domain is included for providing communal uses. Ground level entrepreneurial spaces activate the streets.
The design increases the density of the block, creating a new urban facade and professional spaces in the corners that will generate movement around the block. The internal plaza will transform a private space into a semi-public area that neighbours can use as just another space in the city. This project proposes a system that can accommodate a wide range of tenant profiles and generate a dynamic urban environment. The 'Green Corner' will help achieve a zero-emission community.
TIC is located within three to five kilometres of the CBD and integrates with the suburban street by working with the scale, proportion and materials of the existing houses.
MUSE proposes a new typology of medium density housing for suburban Brisbane. Taking cues from the archetypal ‘Queenslander house’, the design contributes public green space and opportunities for social interactions.
Brisbane: 2040 is a proposal appropriate for metropolitan locations where an existing community is being uplifted to a more sustainable residential dwelling density.
Neighbour-hub concept aims to activate the area within 500m proximity and targets to grow the community together by introducing pedestrian and kids friendly green areas, while encouraging the neighbourhood to build their own startups
The TRU-plex sits seamlessly within the existing leafy neighbourhood of Ascot, Brisbane. The single development creates + encourages carbon-reductive, intergenerational homes which rely on the existing fauna for protection from the QLD condition[s]. As a whole-block development, the effect of the cooling ponds + fauna is multiplied, reducing temperature through evapotranspiration, filtering pollutants + reducing noise, allowing occupants to grow accustomed to a healthier + cleaner lifestyle.
The design is located in a high/medium density area and it responds to its surroundings differently in each side. At ground level on the front, it maintains the front yard of the adjacent neighbours and responds to the street with duplexes. Facing the street, the duplex propose spaces such as home offices, small shops, etc. so it can create a connection with the public scale. On one of the sides the building leaves a space so it becomes a pedestrian/communal street so it creates an entrance to the backyard so it can be enjoyed by all the community.
Ololo is an incremental development type for a corner site amalgamating two lots. Ololo comprises 10 dwellings with two building types, a street building type that addresses and is accessed from the street with vehicle access from a mews to the rear. A Mews Building is accessed from the mews. Both buildings are five attached houses utilising a 6.75m module.
In such a growing city like Brisbane and it is located where is more close to active life areas likes shops, train station.
“Stealth Village” is located in Wynnum an Eastern suburb of Brisbane. The project seeks to achieve affordable density near the Wynnum train station which is well connected to the city.
Origami Lane is located in a local neighbourhood setting, and positively integrates with the older, existing houses.
Inner/middle transitional suburb of a major centre, medium-low density residential zoning in South East Queensland near amenities such as public transport networks, shops, business, schools, universities and public open spaces.
A pedestrian and people focused network of consolidated backyards catalyses the healthy, liveable and entrepreneurial densification of existing (sub) urban and mixed use neighbourhoods.
This design is located on the site (35 Jean St, Woodridge QLD) across the Jean park. The landscaping of the design will encourage the users to walk out of home and engage with the community especially around the park. The greenery involved in the design will improve street aesthetics and benefit the neighbourhood and environment.
The site is set in Logan, Queensland, in the suburb of Daisy Hill. The area is filled with tall trees and this aspect is recognized in the key concept of this proposal.
This proposal can be applied to any pre-existing mid- twentieth century grid pattern residential subdivision, many of which exist in our sub-tropical city of Brisbane.
Located on the fringe of the suburb, using internet culture as a base for a neo-suburban urbanism
Located in Gordon Park, 5km north of Brisbane’s CBD, our proposal embraces a ‘total community’ approach, emphasising public and shared zones within the neighbourhood, embracing affordability, community, flexibility and sustainability.
The design suits any urban location and resultant climate in Australia. The proposal creates new communal space, semi-public laneways, and a shared community zone for the neighbourhood through innovative spatial planning - whilst maintaining the option for privacy. Additionally, opportunity is created for an intertwined fabric of business and collaboration.
Designer: John Henry and Husna Fuzi
Located in a typical Brisbane suburb with immediate access to District Roadway and public transport. The design responds to the neighbourhood character through its architectural form and material. 2 community garden wedges are introduced into the block for the community's use.
In post-war suburban Brisbane – where detached housing prevails – emerges a proposal to challenge the stigmas surrounding “height/density”. Green space and shared amenity clear the way for new, high-quality housing typologies.
Designer: Peter Skinner Architectus
Back Yards – Not Cars
The project is located in Brisbane. It can adapt to different contexts thanks to its adaptive design : ability to add floors, to create new flats or business areas while still being a positive energy building.
Name = Melting Pot . Located in a typical suburb of Brisbane, this design integrates pretty well with its surrounding are thanks to its various heights, its sloped roof pergolas as well as its small front yards.
Designed for SEQ containing building Typologies covering a small footprint in heights of two – three storeys, separated from each other, preserving and enhancing streetscapes to allowing airflow and natural light.
In retaining the existing house fabric of Moorooka, The proposal re purposes the space between minimum set-back and private outdoor space boundaries with row housing that consists of a street presence, and a scale suitable for the suburbs.
Brisbane, QLD. This proposal uses ‘the garden’ as a social machine: a biophilic intervention that reconnects a typical suburban block by turning backyards into foregrounds and gardens into common grounds.
Location: typical 5-10km ring in Brisbane (eg. Gaythorne) Condition: transition from low density to medium density. Proposal: Incremental densification based on a front building/courtyard landscape/rear building model within constraints and pragmatics of existing land holding pattern and typical setbacks.
Situated in the backyards and across rear and side boundaries of existing blocks, the design is conceived as a bottom-up approach to densification that questions and repurposes the traditionally private backyard for community benefit.
Combining the best aspects of both the stand-alone dwelling and the high-rise apartment, the neighbourhood will be strata titled to create low-rise, one to three bedroom apartments with high amenity designed specifically for the sub-tropical climate of Brisbane. While the number of dwellings increases significantly, the street pattern remains similar to the surrounding area and maintains a human scale.
Located in Woodridge, the design delicately and gently weaves humble, beautiful housing within the existing community. This minimises social disruptions and improves interpersonal and community connections across fences, streets and suburbs.
"yes, in my backyard" is located in any location in south east Queensland, we integrate through the reduction in driveways and increased, connected landscaping and integrated community and commerce
CONTEXT/Location Suburban residential Brisbane, beyond the "old city", with potential to increase density across a wide geographical area. MASTERPLANNING RATIONALE - Improve definition of public street - reduced setbacks, partial built-to-side boundary - Varied streetscape form through a 1-3-0-2-1 building height sequence - Retain characteristic of suburban back yards - maintain cross ventilation corridors, visual permeability - Introduce small scale single storey infill on rear boundary, maximising internal ground plane - Facilitate inter-site connections
This proposal is for a neighbourhood block in Stafford and is sensitive to the existing suburb character by ensuring the external boundary setbacks and building style are consistent with the established area.
Located in suburbs similar to Holland Park, The Green Commons focuses on modular housing and integrated green corridors as a platform for community cohesion, diversity and a place for residents to live and play.
We aim to activate street frontages, whilst Increasing density using good design responsive to site-specific QLD micro-climate. The proposed design outcome values a balanced integrated architectural built form with living greenery outcomes . This results in a liveable city that accounts for consolidated urban infill whilst providing a solution that combats heat island effect whilst looking at water sensitive urban design, peak flow storm water mitigation, urban ecology habitat provision, and urban food farming provision.
Located in South East Queensland our design incorporates subtropical laneways as a means of increasing density discretely while maintaining the existing character of our local streets.
Designer: DSGN Kartell Pty Ltd
Ronny Matzat (design / graphics), Mark Thomson (design / text), Mai Ylagan (graphics) , Yan Zhao (landscape)
Sub tropical “Community Tetris” shares resources, whilst integrating a healthy food system socially. It builds neighbourhood character whilst bolstering community economic development, revitalising select natural environments and reusing heritage elements.
The ‘Break the Block’ proposition is a concept that reconceptualises ownership of the traditional residential house block and creates density through the sub division of existing lots into smaller land parcels.
O-C-O is a prototype building design located in regional SE Queensland. It is intended to activate the neighbourhood while increasing density, the quality of living and encouraging communities to become multi-generational.
Our design in sub-tropical Brisbane for the Missing Middle competition block, focuses on integrating the streetscape, local neighbourhood and community through utilising universal design principles.
Our design occupies two adjacent existing lots, on which eight new buildings are proposed. Several new public walkways run in-between these, which connect the existing streets with new “pocket-parks” that have been integrated throughout the wider suburban block.