Client: ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects
Service: Custom Project – Event

“…Aboriginal Housing Victoria’s portfolio of around 1500 rental properties was mostly larger, single-storey villas and houses. That works well for larger families and the larger households associated with Aboriginal kinship networks. But growing numbers of singles, couples and young people often didn’t qualify for these and there’s a severe shortage of 1- and 2-bedroom units right across the social and community housing sector. AHV was keen to explore small-to-medium-density apartment living designed specifically for First Nations tenants. They turned to ClarkeHopkinsClarke and Breathe Architecture to help with this: CHC in Dandenong, and Breathe in Reservoir.

At CHC we’d been working with Women’s Housing Limited over many years to create exemplar social housing for vulnerable women and women-led families in suburbs across Melbourne. So we were able to draw on learnings from those multi-residential apartment communities with some similar aspirations: safety and security, comfort and sanctuary, sustainability that’s environmental, social and financial , quality design outcomes that help de-stigmatise social housing.

For me as a then-quite-young Aboriginal architect, this was an exciting opportunity to:

  • Collaborate closely with a First Nations client for the first time
  • Work with Aboriginal landscape designers to integrate Country, culture and community into outdoor spaces to a degree that’s not typical in social housing
  • And deliver on AHV’s ambition for an exemplar reflecting Aboriginal culture and the importance of social cohesion in multi-residential living…”