A manor in the suburbs that's actually four units, a terrace you access from the rooftop garden and a new apartment on the site of your old family home: these are the creative new places Canberrans could soon be calling home.
The government has approved six housing projects across Canberra for its "alternative" housing project, designed to help urban renewal while architects hope they change the restrictive nature of the capital's zoning laws.
'Give us a bit of freedom': Rethinking from the top down
Andrew Collins' "micro terrace" design for Forrest looks at creating a set of compact terrace houses, but he said he was hesitant to call them "micro houses".
"Whenever you hear that term it's architect speak for a shitty, small little unit," Mr Collins said.
Mr Collins' designs have two terrace units stacked on top of each other, so the bottom terrace is accessed by the ground floor, the top terrace is accessed by taking a spiral staircase to the rooftop garden then walking down into the living room.
"What we're hopping to do is sort of say, 'Don't be scared of using roof space'," Mr Collins said. But the problem was zoning laws for units in Canberra. Most blocks zoned for units restrict units to two storeys above ground while Mr Collins' design needed at least three to four storeys.
He said then the only step up from that was the "mega terraces" around Canberra.
Canberrans had learned to give up greenspace by moving into units with mandated balconies, but these terraces gave occupants more greenspace, Mr Collins said.
Mr Collins said the challenge was also creating a relatively tall unit in suburbs which might be concerned about the effect unit blocks would have.
He said these terraces wouldn't just be smacked next to a house, it would enter an area where units already exist.
"What we're trying to say is, 'C'mon, give us a bit of freedom'," Mr Collins said.
Manor House wants to 'fit in
Rob Henry is proposing a "Manor House" in Griffith which uses a 50:50 ratio of greenspace and building on the one block.
This way, Manor House keeps in line with character of Griffith, where family homes occupy large leafy blocks.
"What we were trying to do in the proposal was to make sure it fit in with the unique suburban character of Griffith," Mr Henry said.
"It has more of a suburban character to it. From the outside it looks like a house.
Instead of a single family home though, Mr Henry's Manor House sits four two-to-three bedroom units in a two-storey building in the middle of block with a basement car park.
He said traditional dual occupancies on a block had a lot of wasted space, with boundaries around gardens and a lack of green space.
Here, concentrating the units in the middle gave everyone a lot of greenspace, plus Mr Henry's design had a designated veggie garden for each occupant.
Co-development to stop ageing homeowners being 'stranded'
Tony Trobe's "In Loco" focused on the idea of "ageing-in-place", where an ageing homeowner doesn't want to move to downsize or leave their family home.
Mr Trobe said incentives and zoning laws needed to change so ageing homeowners could use his idea.
It involves the homeowner going in with developers and financiers to develop a unit on their block, making a profit off the land sale while securing a unit for themselves.
"They're stranded on a large lot of land, they don't want to move, they can't afford to do anything themselves," Mr Trobe said.
Mr Trobe said zoning laws around multi-unit dual occupancies were "unworkable".
"The rules for most of suburbia effectively make multi-units completely unrealistic and unworkable so they're sterile," he said.
The government approved three other designs, one focussed on affordable housing as a joint project with ACT Housing.
The six designs will lodge development applications after consulting with the local communities they're set to be built in.
Planning Minister Mick Gentleman said Canberrans didn't just want single dwellings or high-rise apartments.
Urban Renewal Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the projects were more than just medium-density houses but offered more choice to Canberrans.
More information on the Demonstration Housing project can be found at planning.act.gov.au/topics/current_projects/demonstration-housing.