Aboriginal Housing Victoria

Social housing that provides a connection to Country and a pathway to better lives

Location: Boon Wurrung Country, Dandenong VIC
Status: Completed

The Urban Developer Awards 2024 - Social Infrastructure Category (Shortlisted)

Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV) Dandenong redefines social housing through a profound respect for cultural heritage and community connection. Led by Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV), Yorta Yorta Senior Architect James Gilliland from ClarkeHopkinsClarke (CHC), and First Nations Landscape Designer Charles Solomon, the project transforms a 996sqm site into 10 meticulously crafted apartments for First Peoples.

The design drew inspiration from the culture and Country of the Ngaruk Willam people. Materials were selected that reference local stone and the built form was inspired by temporary shelters, Mia Mia, used for seasonal harvesting. The curves of the Mia Mia are translated into the sweeping roof form over the loft apartments. This creates the appearance of a townhouse typology from the street, which was and integrates the project into the streetscape.

At its heart is a communal courtyard that links all residences visually and physically. Plants were selected for their symbolic meanings and traditional uses in medicine and tools. Grantie and volcanic boulder in the surrounding area has been referenced in gabion stone walls at the front of the building and rock features in the communal garden. The landscaping shares the narrative of Country and can be used by residents as a cultural learning tool or as a space to play, relax and connect.