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.