Wilam Ngarrang Retrofit | Kennedy Nolan with Finding Infinity

Wilam Ngarrang Retrofit | Kennedy Nolan with Finding Infinity | Photographer: Eve Wilson

2024 National Architecture Awards Program

Wilam Ngarrang Retrofit | Kennedy Nolan with Finding Infinity

Traditional Land Owners
Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation


Interior Architecture
Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing
Sustainable Architecture
Wilderness Building Co.
Project summary

Wilam Ngarrang is a minimal intervention retrofit of a 1970s apartment block in Fitzroy, it is Australia’s first plus energy retrofit of an apartment block. The purpose of transforming this building was to create an example for the city.

A financially replicable model of low environmental impact retrofit concentrating on improving thermal performance, extending the lifespan of the building and increasing amenity for tenants. Importantly, there is also an emphasis on creating a sense of domestic comfort, on making places for people which are warm, welcoming and beautiful, in their own modest way.

The design of the project was a partnership between Kennedy Nolan and Finding Infinity, regular collaborators on a diverse range of projects.

Victorian Architecture Awards Accolades
Commendation for Interior Architecture
Commendation for Sustainable Architecture
Victorian Jury Citation

Commendation for Interior Architecture

Squarely aimed at testing a potential prototype investigating the social and financial benefits of retrofitting existing apartment blocks within an inner-city environment, Kennedy Nolan and Finding Infinity have thrived in the complexity of an ESD, budget-driven project that proves low cost does not mean poor design. The project must be commended for its positive social and environmental outcomes. Wilam Ngarrang Retrofit demonstrates that modest, clever, and generous design can produce housing that elevates even the tightest accommodation.

Commendation for Sustainable Architecture

Wilam Ngarrang Retrofit demonstrates a comprehensive engagement with issues extending beyond the subject site, notably seeking to challenge the demolition of existing housing throughout the State. In the face of a housing and climate crisis, this retrofit initiative stands as an exemplar, characterised by the conscientious approach to sustainability. 

The jury was impressed by the materiality and upgrades to operational systems that are well-considered. This ethos was admirably embraced by the entire project team, from client and consultant to builders.

Project Practice Team

Rachel Nolan, Design Architect
Patrick Kennedy, Design Architect
Michael Macleod, Design Architect
Marnie Morieson, Project Architect
Ross Harding, Environmental Consultant
Will Young, Environmental Consultant

Project Consultant and Construction Team

Resin Property, Project Manager
Krneta, Building Surveyor
JMLA, Landscape Consultant
3D Access, Acoustic Consultant
3D Access, Access consultant
PassiveTech, Blower Door Test

Connect with Kennedy Nolan with Finding Infinity
Wilam Ngarrang Retrofit | Kennedy Nolan with Finding Infinity | Photographer: Eve Wilson

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