Launch Housing is a Melbourne community organisation that delivers homelessness services and housing support to disadvantaged Victorians. Launch and ARM are partnering on this build-to-rent project.
This building is for women and children escaping domestic violence—people who would otherwise become frequent clients of services for homelessness, health, mental health and justice.
It’s part of Launch’s prevention and early intervention strategy for changing the life trajectory of these women and their children. They are collaborating with UnitingCare.
The building will have 60 apartments of various sizes plus shared spaces including a residents’ lounge, family games area and children’s spaces. There’s also a terrace and a garden.
The residents of this building need it to look and feel like home. It will have a domestic vernacular, and a sense of style and comfort like a house.
The exterior design concept originated from patterns and textures used in domestic buildings, particularly the tradition of wrought iron and cast metal balustrades in Victorian homes.
Our pretty domestic filigree has motifs of plants, flowers, growth and life that that mask the structure’s basic function of security and privacy.
Traditionally, patterns like this feature in spaces of rest—pavilions, verandas, and pergolas—places of quiet sanctuary in their landscape.
The Launch Housing patterns are modelled in 3D then rendered and printed flat onto the façade, creating an effect that can be either permeable or solid, and is ornate yet robust and safe.
An especially useful feature of our design is dual-key apartments. An extra foyer between a studio apartment and its immediate neighbour allows the two apartments to be combined into one family unit. This arrangement means any floor can be customised to a specific mix without costly structural and service transitions.
The dual-key units will create flexibility so Launch can offer tenancies of various sizes depending on demand. The units also adjust to families as they evolve e.g. when grown-up children move out, their mother could retain one of the two apartments.
Supportive housing provides services such as skills classes and access to healthcare, legal and other practitioners. Therefore, there’s a generous kitchen and dining area for cooking and food preparation classes, there’s a big community space for functions and meetings, and there are consultation rooms.
The shared recreation spaces encourage residents to connect with their neighbours. The apartment corridors are like the family hallway and the backyard has a garden shed, a barbeque and a veggie patch.
The combination of well-designed homes, shared spaces, offices and consultation rooms will create a sense of community and a safe, supportive environment for Victoria’s most vulnerable women and children.
Construction will commence in August 2020.