When Jeremy McLeod and Tamara Veltre founded Breathe Architecture in 2001, they wanted to design architecture with meaning and accessibility for all. In the two decades since, they’ve helped to create homes for hundreds of people, won multiple awards, and realised their vision for design with a conscience.
|Business type||Architecture practice|
|Industry||Building and construction|
|In Moreland since||2001|
We don’t think of our ourselves as ‘sustainable architects’, but rather as urban design architects with a conscience. We do what we think every architecture practice should be doing,” says Jeremy.
Breathe’s portfolio includes multi-residential, hospitality, and commercial projects, including the Hardwick Building at Sparta Place and The Commons apartment building on Florence Street, both in Brunswick. Staffed by just its two founders in 2001, its team now numbers more than 20.
The Commons was completed in 2013. Made up of 24 apartments in a building with a 7.5-star energy rating, The Commons is inhabited by residents who are keen to build and actively participate in community, and to live as sustainably as possible. It enabled Breathe to start to realise its vision of creating a new model for urban living.
The success of The Commons led the team and Breathe to develop the Nightingale model, an innovative new approach to designing and building urban homes that aims to be financially, socially and environmentally sustainable. Its latest project is Nightingale Village in Brunswick, which will be made up of six buildings designed and developed by a collective of six architects, from different firms. The buildings will be connected by lanes and parklets, a creche, coworking spaces, cafes and meeting areas.
“Our purpose is to design architecture that is meaningful and accessible to all. To approach the built environment from a holistic and sustainable perspective, reconciling ecological and social design impacts within any economic climate,” says Jeremy.
Dozens of local and national awards testify to Breathe’s impact, and its status as an industry leader. It was awarded the Melbourne Prize, The Best Overend Award for Residential Architecture - Multi-Residential (Nightingale 1), The Allan and Beth Coldicutt Award for Sustainable Architecture (Nightingale 1), and Best In Category – Architectural Design at the Premiers Design Award. And that’s just for Nightingale 1 (the Nightingale Model’s flagship project, which was completed in 2017), and just in 2018.
But the accolades don’t mean that business is always easy. Over the years, Jeremy and Tamara have had to overcome a number of challenges. The biggest, especially in the beginning, has been staying true to its sustainability-driven principles.
“In the beginning there were no other architects bringing sustainability principles into their design work as strongly as we were. It was sometimes a challenge to share our ethos with our clients and inspire them to join us on the sustainability journey.”
Over the years, this has gotten easier. Breathe has kept to its mission by showing leadership at events and being activists in the space.
“We pride ourselves on educating our clients, the industry and even our competitors for the sake of keeping our planet happy,” Jeremy continues. “This year, we’re focused on bringing change – real change – to our industry, through initiatives like the supporting the launch of a ‘go carbon neutral’ Instagram campaign, and continuing to work on meaningful projects.”
Images courtesy of Breathe Architecture.