Sculpt­ing Com­mu­ni­ties

Design Anthology - - Partner Content / Volume Projects - vol­ume­pro­

To build a com­mu­nity, it takes a kind of com­mu­nity — one of like-minded col­lab­o­ra­tors from ar­chi­tects and de­sign­ers to builders and res­i­dents. This is a con­cept at the core of young Mel­bourne de­vel­oper Vol­ume Projects. ‘To us, ar­chi­tects are sculp­tors,' says Bao Nguyen, who founded the com­pany in 2016. ‘They draw the shape of the com­mu­ni­ties we build, and we see the re­sult as a meet­ing of minds, rather than just an­other build­ing.'

The com­pany's youth is ev­i­dent in its ap­proach, which brings a sense of fresh­ness to its three bou­tique res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties. Is­land House, a pent­house-fo­cused devel­op­ment on a crest at the west­ern end of Bridge Road in Richmond, is a case in point. The site is formed on its own ‘is­land', set slightly back and el­e­vated to form a kind of gate­way to the her­itage streetscap­e. Di­ag­o­nally op­po­site, the for­mer Yarra Park School is a key el­e­ment in this streetscap­e, its her­itage list­ing an as­sur­ance of con­tin­u­ing clear views to the mcg and city.

In a nod to the area's ty­pol­ogy, lo­cal ar­chi­tects Pitch Ar­chi­tec­ture + De­sign chose to clad Is­land House's podium in brick ve­neer. In con­trast, the up­per-level box is wrapped in per­fo­rated metal for a touch that's both mod­ern and light. In­te­ri­ors are by award-win­ning Aus­tralian de­signer Fiona Lynch, and their ma­te­rial touches and at­ten­tion to de­tail cre­ate a sense of calm in the bustling neigh­bour­hood.

This type of sen­si­tive, suc­cess­ful in­ter­ven­tion has led to Vol­ume de­vel­op­ing a small but sup­port­ive in­sti­tu­tional and in­vestor net­work lo­cally and from as far afield as Saudi Ara­bia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Viet­nam. Its works feel like an an­thol­ogy: each may be born of a dif­fer­ent au­thor, but Nguyen's guid­ing hand and at­ten­tion to the small­est de­tail cre­ates a con­ti­nu­ity of aes­thetic and of pur­pose.

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