Recently the Village Well team was lucky enough to be taken on a ‘mystery tour’ with Gilbert. We started this exciting tour at Hub Melbourne with the lovely Ehon Chan – the Hub’s Connection Catalyst (great job title) showing us around and explaining what The Hub is all about. It was very inspiring knowing there is such a cool enclave of connectivity here in Melbourne’s CBD.
Wow – the guys who started Yammer (which brought the power of social networking into the heart of the world of business) are still operating here on the 3rd floor of Donkey Wheel House in Bourke St, even though they’ve already hit the big time in the IT universe!
The Hub is a great example of democratising the means of production and promoting the power of connectivity. It’s a very cool place as well (Village Well ran an engagement process with members last year to help develop the design brief for the fit out).
After the Hub we trundled off in our mini bus to visit a new housing complex in East Coburg called ‘The Nicholson’. Peter Burke from Places Victoria showed us around this innovative, mixed tenure complex that combines social, affordable (NRAS) and private rental as well as privately owned housing, and provides spaces for commercial uses at street level. This rare experiment in socially mixed community (rare for Melbourne, that is) seems to be going very well indeed. Well-done Places Vic!
Here is the Village Well team on the seats in the communal courtyard – do we look like a band?
To top off these great experiences, we were lucky enough to be shown around the new Heidelberg co-op, Murundaka, by the lovely Co-op members. WE LOVED IT!
This is social housing owned by Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL) and funded by the State and Federal governments, but managed by the residents for the residents.
This place has the nicest, homeliest feel of any medium density housing I have ever experienced – and that’s quite a lot.
Murundaka is an intentional community of 17 units that range from 1br-3br where the residents are committed to cooperative and sustainable living.
The architecture from the street is a bit institutional and hyper modern, so the place doesn’t really look like housing – but then you walk around a corner and into the courtyard and wow! It’s just so personal and charming.
The architecture of the common areas, including a lovely big common lounge / dining / kitchen area, a flexible loft area for watching movies, making crafts – anything you want really - is so comfortable, with a warm fireplace, a cozy collection of couches, a huge length of dining table and a friendly assortment of chairs. Apparently everybody gathers here on Friday nights – to eat, entertain guests and party. But it has the feel of a place that’s very well used most of the time.
Individual apartments are self contained and lovely. Many have a pretty outlook, and all have good light, nice kitchens and bathrooms, a well sized bedroom, spacious living area and a little porch - each one a little island of peace. And there are great shared facilities, like a room with a bath, a big laundry, a giant trampoline for the 13 or so kids – everything you could possibly want! There are already great veggie gardens here and on a neighboring Co-op site, and more gardens are in the process of design.
It was all such a delight, and to end our tour – home made SOUP! Very yum – thanks Gilbert.
And thanks to all our lovely hosts for their time and generosity - it was a very inspiring and enjoyable day, and our eyes were opened to many new possibilities. Great professional development and team building Village Well!