Stucco

Newtown, NSW

Stucco is a democratically-managed student cooperative, established in 1991 to address the growing need for genuinely affordable student housing in Sydney. The cooperative provides affordable rental housing for University of Sydney students experiencing financial disadvantage or housing need. The cooperative model allows Stucco to offer rental for only $100 per week.

Category: Cooperatives

 

About the project

 

Stucco is a democratically-managed student cooperative, established in 1991 to address the growing need for genuinely affordable student housing in Sydney. The cooperative provides affordable rental housing for University of Sydney students experiencing financial disadvantage or housing need. The cooperative model allows Stucco to offer rental for only $100 per week.

 

Stucco houses 40 people in 8 self-contained units. There are six 5-bedroom terraces and two 4-bedroom flats, all of which face onto a leafy courtyard. Each unit has its own kitchen, phone and bathrooms and decides together how it will be run.

 

In 2015, Stucco became the first multi-unit residence in Australia to install a unified solar panel and battery network. The solar system has 114 panels and 36 batteries, producing 30 kWh with storage capacity for 42.3 kW. It is estimated to provide 80% of Stucco’s energy usage and should pay for itself within 6 or 7 years.

 

The residents

 

The 40 residents are members of the cooperative and are engaged in the management of the property through regular General Meetings and Committee Meetings. All permanent residents are full-time students of the University of Sydney, although Stucco does provide temporary accommodation to others as well.

 

Each unit is a sub-community within the larger Stucco community that decides how that household will run. Some have communal cooking and a cleaning roster, while others have fewer rules.

 

Prospective residents must attend at least three Stucco meetings, including at least one General Meeting, before they become eligible to apply for residency. The units manage an interview process to decide who will join the household when a vacancy becomes available.

 

Project snapshot
What is shared?
How did it happen?
Legalities

Governance

Stucco has a common laundry with three washing machines, a hall with a piano and pool table, beautiful shared gardens and a sun-deck. Stucco residents also share the benefits of cheap power from the solar and battery system. All the residents also share in the governance of the cooperative through the General Meetings and Committee Meetings.

The property is co-owned by the University of Sydney and NSW Department of Housing, who purchased the property in response to a student initiative. Originally a glass-making factory, the property was renovated according to a design from the architecture faculty, based around a central courtyard and retaining much of the original timber structure.

The Stucco Housing Cooperative is tasked with management of the property by the owners. Residents are expected to devote at least five hours per week to the upkeep of the cooperative and building. The cooperative maintains a sinking fund that pays for maintenance and innovations such as the solar battery system.

Stucco is governed on principles of democratic self-management, centred around fortnightly General Meetings, where all residents get together to hear committee reports, discuss various items, and vote on proposals. All residents are also involved in one of four committees that look after everything relating to the management of Stucco.

Music at Stucco

All images courtesy of Stucco.

 © 2019 University of Technology Sydney