Hon­our­ing the vi­sion

Close to half a cen­tury of ar­chi­tec­tural her­itage al­lows Mir­vac to cre­ate en­dur­ing com­mu­ni­ties across Aus­tralia, se­cur­ing its legacy firmly in place.

Belle - - Creative Space Right N Ow - Words SARAH WORMWELL

IN THE SAME WAY that lux­ury cou­ture and jew­ellery houses look to their ar­chives and orig­i­nal brand founders to in­flu­ence and in­spire mod­ern de­sign, so too does Mir­vac strive to up­hold the un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to qual­ity em­bed­ded in its DNA.

Since 1972, it’s es­ti­mated more than a mil­lion peo­ple have lived in Mir­vac prop­er­ties across Aus­tralia. While the vol­ume of this ex­pe­ri­ence is vast, more telling is that cus­tomers come back for more. A re­cent project on Syd­ney’s north shore, St Leonard’s Square, at­tracted close to 40 per cent of re­peat Mir­vac cus­tomers.

Few prop­erty com­pa­nies can lay claim to such long-stand­ing his­tory in the Aus­tralian mar­ket and few in the fast-paced world of prop­erty en­joy this level of brand loy­alty. The ex­pla­na­tion lies in Mir­vac’s near half a cen­tury of ex­pe­ri­ence, says gen­eral man­ager of sales, mar­ket­ing and de­sign for Mir­vac, Di­ana Sar­casmo. “To be at the fore­front of good de­sign re­quires an in­nate un­der­stand­ing of the past. You don’t be­come a master in the craft with­out lis­ten­ing to and learn­ing from your dis­cern­ing cus­tomers.

“One of our founders, Henry Pol­lack, was an ar­chi­tect. The com­pany be­gan with a re­lent­less de­sire to de­sign and de­velop prop­er­ties to im­prove the way peo­ple live – to en­rich their lives. Their com­mit­ment was to ex­cep­tional de­sign, but also to ex­cep­tional ser­vice.” Through the decades, this com­mit­ment to qual­ity has seen Mir­vac build on its suc­cess. Ev­ery project in­forms the next.

Sar­casmo cites early adop­tion of sus­tain­able build­ing prac­tices as an ex­am­ple of how the prop­erty group has learnt from ex­pe­ri­ence to in­no­vate for the fu­ture. Back in 2000, Mir­vac helped cre­ate Aus­tralia’s first so­lar vil­lage. New­ing­ton was built as ath­letes’ ac­com­mo­da­tion for the Syd­ney Olympics and trans­formed into a new res­i­den­tial com­mu­nity. Lessons from this process en­trenched sus­tain­abil­ity in Mir­vac’s de­sign pro­cesses. Fast for­ward 18 years and Mir­vac was named not just Aus­tralia’s most sus­tain­able prop­erty com­pany, but the world’s, by the Dow Jones Sus­tain­abil­ity In­dex.

Mir­vac head of res­i­den­tial, Stu­art Pen­klis, says Mir­vac has evolved over 45 years from de­sign­ing and build­ing sin­gle projects to now cre­at­ing prop­er­ties that of­fer high-qual­ity liv­ing to not only res­i­dents, but the broader com­mu­nity, too. He points to Mir­vac projects across the coun­try: Yarra’s Edge, a cu­rated col­lec­tion of Res­i­dences and Cargo homes on Mel­bourne’s Yarra River, Syd­ney Olympic Park’s Pav­il­ions, and The Penin­sula in Perth as be­ing “all about ur­ban re­newal”.

Ob­serv­ing the Mir­vac founders’ pas­sion for cus­tomer-ori­ented de­sign and at­ten­tion to de­tail, Pen­klis is in­tent on nur­tur­ing and hon­our­ing the unique el­e­ments of Mir­vac’s cul­ture that pri­ori­tises qual­ity and care in ev­ery lit­tle de­tail as well as lis­ten­ing to cus­tomers and com­mu­ni­ties. It is this hon­our­ing of the past that will en­able Mir­vac to drive big­ger think­ing for a fu­ture res­i­den­tial legacy.

“The Mir­vac dif­fer­ence is that we de­sign, build and sell our own prop­er­ties, so we con­trol ev­ery stage of the process. In a world of fast-paced change this level of in-house ex­per­tise is es­sen­tial,” says Pen­klis. “So­ci­ety is evolv­ing rapidly, we will see some of our cities dou­ble their pop­u­la­tion by 2050. Syd­ney’s pop­u­la­tion is ex­pected to ex­ceed 7.4 mil­lion by 2050. Com­mut­ing will be­come life-chang­ing as peo­ple seek hous­ing so­lu­tions that sup­port a work-life bal­ance.

“Our suc­cess will also be in­flu­enced by our in­dus­try’s abil­ity to re­spect place, as it is the lo­cal his­tory, peo­ple and life­style that make our cities dif­fer­ent. At Mir­vac we dive deeply into a place be­fore we en­hance it. This means get­ting to know neigh­bour­hoods well over time and lis­ten­ing care­fully to a com­mu­nity’s as­pi­ra­tions.

“Mir­vac’s view of Aus­tralian cities in 2050 is that they will be much more dy­namic and com­plex than they are now, no longer ho­moge­nous places of busi­ness – they will blend so­cial, res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial, re­tail and com­mu­nity ex­pe­ri­ences in both the phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal realms. Hous­ing will be trans­formed by tech­nol­ogy that aims to make life eas­ier, so we get more out of our home en­vi­ron­ments. That means ad­vances brought to us by fu­ture au­to­ma­tion and robotics with homes that in­tel­li­gently run them­selves, driv­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency,” says Pen­klis.

Mir­vac’s House With No Bills pi­lot is a re­search project ex­plor­ing what it will take to of­fer homes with zero en­ergy bills. It has the po­ten­tial to rev­o­lu­tionise Aus­tralian hous­ing by un­cov­er­ing how to de­liver off-grid hous­ing to the mass mar­ket. “We will see sub­urbs with zero en­ergy bills in 2050 and cleaner trans­port such as elec­tric fleets, from pri­vate ve­hi­cles to driver­less pub­lic trans­port. We are im­ple­ment­ing de­sign con­sid­er­a­tions to fu­ture-proof our build­ings and com­mu­ni­ties to ac­com­mo­date these changes.

“No doubt homes will change dra­mat­i­cally, but es­sen­tial to our fu­ture is wel­com­ing smart de­vel­op­ment that op­ti­mises space through good de­sign. To build a bright fu­ture for Aus­tralians, to cre­ate a legacy for gen­er­a­tions to come, de­vel­op­ment should be self­sus­tain­ing, in­cor­po­rat­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and tech­nol­ogy and ul­ti­mately im­prov­ing con­nec­tiv­ity in our cities.”

As the pace of change in our cities in­creases, Pen­klis be­lieves her­itage re­mains im­por­tant. “Decades of ex­pe­ri­ence en­sures a deep un­der­stand­ing of cus­tomers. Mir­vac will con­tinue to hon­our its found­ing prin­ci­ples of qual­ity and care in ev­ery lit­tle de­tail. An un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to ex­cep­tional de­sign and ser­vice cre­ates a legacy for gen­er­a­tions to come,” he says. mir­vac.com

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