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    ‘Safe and sanctuary-like’ apartments dedicated to at-risk women and children

    A $30 million build-to-rent project designed to support at-risk women and children has been completed in Dandenong, marking the first project of its kind in Australia.
    Designed by ARM Architecture for specialist homeless organisation Launch Housing, the project known as “Viv’s Place” provides permanent housing with wrap-around support services for up to 60 women and 130 children escaping family violence and homelessness.
    The accommodation model features tailored support for women and children, with access to onsite skills classes, healthcare and legal aid, and permanent, purpose-built suites for ongoing consultative care. Inspired by successful models like the Sugar Hill project in Manhattan, the design is supported by seven years of research and consultation.
    “It is an accommodation model equipped with support facilities to enable care and community assistance within the building itself,” said ARM director Andrew Lilleyman.
    Viv’s Place is designed with a range of apartment types – from studio or single-bed to three-bedroom apartments – to suit a variety of family arrangements, from single-parent households to intergenerational families.
    The project deliberately goes against the grain of preconceived understandings of social housing, demonstrating how these living models can be both “generous and abundant” on a tight budget ­– spatially, functionally, aesthetically and communally.

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    Considered details include terracotta tiles, coloured wallpaper, wrought iron lacework and gardens that foster a sense of belonging and calm. Image:

    Tatjana Plitt

    The building shirks conventional, sterile apartment design, wrapping the interiors and exteriors with materials, patterns and colours more consistent with a traditional home. These include terracotta tiles, coloured wallpaper, wrought iron lacework and gardens that foster a sense of belonging and calm.
    Lilleyman said this dignity-enabling model is designed to help occupants feel a sense of ownership, using trauma-informed design principles to promote connectivity and comfort.
    “Given the clientele for this building, we have designed a vibrant, colourful, patterned building, which deliberately moves away from social housing models that are austere and institutional in both appearance and function,” said Lilleyman.
    Andrea Wilson is an interior design leader at ARM. She said the material selections for the communal spaces are about “gathering a series and assemblage of finishes that are linked to a diversity of different cultures,” with design details that recall killim rugs, a library “tent” with an interior imagined as a “wallpapered library artifice,” and wallpaper adorned with blue urns evocative of the Mediterranean.
    Lilleyman said the project “pushes the envelope” in terms of what design can do for apartment buildings. “The sense of identity and belonging is important for a building like this and its occupants, and the patterns and concepts that go into the design create that environment,” he said.

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    Trauma-informed interior space is designed to cater for people with specific needs, both for a sense of community and connection and conversely for quiet and privacy. Image:

    Tatjana Plitt

    The communal interior space is designed to cater for people with specific needs, providing opportunities for social connection as well as quiet and privacy. “It’s a journey of discovery,” said Wilson. “There’s a central couch area but there are also a series of discreet niches that create very strategic breaks between play and rest spaces.”
    Wilson said Viv’s Place helps to challenge the notion of what is possible for interior design on community and low-budget projects. “There is a huge amount of material that can be selected that is provocative and that stimulates the imagination,” said Wilson. “It’s an interesting thing to move away from pure colour-blocking or texture, which are the standard approaches, into something that is a lot more inspiring. We’re moving away from something institutional and adding pattern and colour in a way that fills a space that could feel empty.”
    Launch Housing chief executive Bevan Warner said he hopes the building will provide a prototype for future social housing establishments that “steer away from institutional design”.
    “Solutions like Viv’s Place are critical to breaking the cycle of intergenerational homelessness and giving children a strong start in life,” said Warner.
    The project was partially funded (40 percent) by the Victorian government, with the remainder of funding provided through philanthropic donations from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Shine On Foundation, the Ian Potter Foundation and the Gandel Foundation, as well as from the Friday family of Melbourne. More

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    Design Canberra relaunches in-person festival

    In its first in-person event in two years, annual festival Design Canberra returns in 2022 for its ninth edition following its postponement due to COVID-19 last year.
    Design Canberra is the primary outreach program for the ACT’s Craft and Design Centre, which promotes and celebrates artists, designers and craft practitioners.
    This year’s festival explores the theme “Transformation”, inviting audiences to consider how design can transform the city, the community and the world through creative practice.
    The 2022 program features more than 200 events, including talks, tours, exhibitions, public art installations, workshops and symposiums, with open-studio access to more than 77 Canberra-based artists and designers.
    Design Canberra chief executive and artistic director Jodie Cunningham said Canberra’s design community is looking forward to coming back together to engage the community in important dialogues and programs that speak to a collective design future.
    “With a highly anticipated return to a full physical festival, this year’s program is delivered through collaboration between artists, designers, craftspeople, industry, sponsors, educational institutions, organisations and supporters – all of whom contribute to Canberra’s world class design community,” said Cunningham.

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    Contemporary Architecture Tour: Crace Eclectic House by Megaflora. Image:

    Courtesy of Design Canberra

    The festival includes four symposiums with high-profile keynote speakers including authors Elizabeth Farrelly and Tony Fry, and artists Blanche Tilden and Tom Moore, covering conversations around design futures, urban planning, craft and design practice, and public art.
    In architecture talks, the “Design Revisited” series, supported by the Alistair Swayne Foundation, will be a unique opportunity to celebrate architectural history and design excellence in a city of design.
    Architectural tours will provide an opportunity to explore some of the city’s modernist architectural homes, including Karma House by Derek Wrigley and Little Loft House, currently under renovation by Light House Architecture and Science.
    Other highlights include the hidden secrets of the Australian National University, exploring the hidden tunnels beneath the campus built post World War II; a close look at the heritage-listed Verity Lane Market at the heart of Canberra; and a tour of Calthorpes’ House, built 1927, which epitomizes Canberra design in the 1920s.
    The festival will run for two weeks, from 2 until 20 November. To view the full program or to book tickets, visit the Design Canberra Festival website. More

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    The other-worldly architecture of Rudolf Steiner

    The first Goetheanum (1913–19), an odd mix of temple, dance hall and conference centre, was a double-domed timber and concrete structure looking like a hilltop observatory. Steiner’s philosophic-religious system, anthroposophy, was intended to be expressed through art and movement; its dance, eurythmy – then a massive fad – was fundamental to its practice. The Goetheanum’s halls, intersecting like a compressed figure eight, were designed to accommodate these theatrical movements; the dome of the first building was a garish multi-coloured globe, as if the heavens were awash in a dancing spectrum. That building burnt down, mysteriously, in 1922. Steiner immediately set about designing a more ambitious, more solid structure. Even before it was completed – in 1928, three years after he died – it became a sensation. Visiting architects were awed by this radical structure shrouded in complex scaffolding, its emergent form visible within.The second Goetheanum building in Dornach, Switzerland, designed by Rudolf Steiner after the first Goetheanum burnt down in 1922, and completed in 1928. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images More

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    Laminex debuts new September colour collection

    Laminex has welcomed 14 new additions to its expansive colour range for September in its largest product update for 2022.
    New decors include additions to solid colours, woodgrains and matte collections, all of which relate to the Australian natural environment. Decors each feature a touch of black and reduced colour strength to boost versatility, ensuring they seamlessly blend with any existing colour collection.
    Laminex sales manager Sacha Leagh-Murray said the new collection captures the “wildly diverse palette of Australia’s natural landscape,” taking cues from the rich ochre colours of the earth to the blue tones of the ocean.
    “Striking the perfect balance of vibrancy and tranquillity, the new decors reconnect us with the freedom and beauty of nature,” said Leagh-Murray.

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    Golden Wattle, Porcelain Blush, Surround Demi-Round, Peruvian Clay. Image: Laminex

    Laminex’s new decors include four highly-saturated additions to its popular Living Pigments range, welcoming two warm yellow shades including the softened, organic “Golden Wattle” yellow, and the yellow-orange “Coastal Sunrise”.
    Harnessing the expressive power of the sea, “Portsea” is a cool mid-toned ocean blue, while “Otway” is Laminex’s green partner to its famed French Navy decor.
    Laminex has also welcomed four new schemes into its woodgrain range, capturing the authentic colours, textures and fibre details of natural timbers in a highly durable laminate form.
    New additions include “Chestnut Woodland”, a warm, chestnut brown with a beech structure comprising long, linear grain detailing, and “Weathered Pine”, with fine structural details that suggest a distressed or rustic surface.

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    Portsea, Moroccan Clay, and Marmo Grigio. Image: Laminex

    The “Absolutely Matte” range is beloved for its velvety smooth finish and superior functionality, and has also expanded to include six new additions: “Aries”, a neutral grey-white; “Spinifex”, a soft, organic blue-green; “Paper Bark”, a mid-grey with green undertone; “Otway”, a deeply blackened green-blue; “Moroccan Clay”, a strongly blackened red with yellow undertones; and “Kalamata”, a pure, blackened bold red.
    The new additions to Laminex’s colour collection are now available in-store and online at www.laminex.com.au. More

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    Site selected for new Adelaide aquatic centre

    A site has been selected for a new $80-million Adelaide aquatic centre, with South Australian premier Peter Malinauskas revealing the new location in early September. The new centre, designed by JPE Design Studio and Warren and Mahoney, will be built just south of the existing parklands site, North Adelaide, on an oval in the south-western […] More

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    Long-awaited Parramatta civic hub opens

    Parramatta council has opened its $135 million civic hub, designed by Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Designinc and Lacoste and Stevenson.
    Dubbed “Phive” after its address, 5 Parramatta Square, the civic hub is the centrepiece of the $2.7 billion project to transform the historic centre of Sydney’s western city.
    The building houses council chambers, community meeting rooms, visitor service as well as a new library with a dedicated children’s section, maker space, tech labs and sound studios.

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    Flexible spaces inside Phive Parramatta by Manuelle Gautrand Architecture with Australian firms Designinc and Lacoste and Stevenson can be hired out by local businesses, such as a wellness studio. Image:

    Michael Bell

    “Parramatta’s dazzling new building has been years in the making, and we are so delighted Phive is now open for everyone to enjoy,” said lord mayor of Parramatta Donna Davis. “This space has been designed with and for our communities in mind – to connect, collaborate and enjoy cultural experiences.”
    The French-Australian consortium of architects won a design excellence competition for the building in 2016.

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    The council chambers of Phive Parramatta by Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Designinc and Lacoste and Stevenson. Image:

    Michael Bell

    Their “unique and spectacular” design called for a glass building with a wave-like facade as a backdrop for public art projects. The final design has evolved into a striking roof made with 549 unique tessellated panels. Internally, the colour scheme is inspired by Australian flora.
    The building includes a ventilation system that responds to weather conditions as well as other sustainability measures that would allow it to one day be net zero carbon
    “It’s important we have accessible, state-of-the-art facilities to support people who live, work, study or visit Parramatta,” Davis said. More

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    Station plans released for Melbourne Airport Rail

    A new station will be built as part of Melbourne’s new airport rail line, earmarked to open in 2029, connecting the city and the airport for the first time.
    The Victorian government released its business case for an above-ground station for the Melbourne Airport rail link as well as a new station at Keilor East for Melbourne’s growing west, stating the project would generate returns of up to $2.10 for every dollar spent.
    The airport station will provide an alternative transport option between the city and Tullamarine with a projected journey time of 30 minutes, as the “fastest and most direct connection” to the airport from all parts of Melbourne and Victoria, the government said.
    The business case stated the elevated station at the airport would be the “best solution” for passengers, better integrating with the airport precinct with fewer impacts on planned future development.
    Meanwhile, the Keilor East station will link more than 150,000 Mooney Valley residents to Victoria’s rail network for the first time, providing a much-needed transport option for the growing west, said Victorian transport minister Jacinta Allan.

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    Melbourne Airport Rail will provide commuters with the fastest and most direct connections to the airport from all parts of Melbourne and Victoria. Image:

    Courtesy of Victoria’s Big Build

    The line will run through Sunshine Station and the Metro Tunnel, “maximising connections to Melbourne’s booming west and south-east, and Victoria’s major regional centres of Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Gippsland,” the Victorian government said.
    As a result, more than 30 stations across Melbourne, as far away as Cranbourne and Pakenham, will have direct connection to the airport via the Metro Tunnel, while passengers from most other stations in the state will only need to change trains once.
    The airport rail project will also include an upgrades to Sunshine station, a new rail bridge over the Western Ring Road and Steele Creek, a bridge over Maribyrnong River, and a flyover between Sunshine and the Albion rail junction.
    Melbourne Airport Rail is estimated to cost between $8 billion and $13 billion, and the Victorian and federal governments have each committed $5 billion to deliver the new airport link.
    Rail Projects Victoria is responsible for planning and development of project reference design, site investigation, planning approvals, stakeholder management, through to the construction delivery and project commissioning phases.
    Details planning and development work is currently underway, which will yield more detailed cost estimates and scope for the project. Construction will begin in 2022 with a targeted opening date of 2029.
    For more information visit the project website on Victoria’s Big Build. More

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    Perth council approves historic arts strip renewal

    Perth City Council has approved a $160-million proposal to revamp a strip of Barrack Street in a scheme designed by Hames Sharley. The Perth Local Development Assessment Panel (LDAP) voted to approve plans to redevelop six lots covering 3,350 square metres along Barrack Street, between the Murray and Hay street malls. LDAP spokesperson Diana Goldswain […] More