Melbourne hasn’t won the Most Liveable City in the World title seven times for no reason. From sport, to the arts, to food, the city has created a dynamic identity with seemingly limitless possibilities. The same is true of the city’s buildings, where creativity is blending with architectural heritage, which means it’s an exciting time to be a building designer.
Melbourne Polytechnic’s, Michael Malina is an expert in architectural innovation. He says that, when it comes to design in Melbourne, anything is possible.
“People want the high end stuff now, everyone wants that hotel type of house where they can show it off to their family and their friends. They’re proud of where they live!”
Partly inspired by TV shows like The Block and My House Rules’, heritage Victorian and Californian Bungalow style homes are being transformed into modern living and entertaining spaces, where the backyard is an extension of the open and contemporary space indoors. Council regulations mean the facade and front two rooms of many of these houses must be maintained, which leads to a beautiful contrast of the old and the new, of the heritage and the contemporary.
If the passion of our future designers is anything to go by, this trend looks set to continue. According to Michael, students at Melbourne Polytechnic “get pumped up” when they learn about the history of architecture. “They really take on the historical significance of a home. They like to learn about the ornamentation and what style period it is from.”
Michael suggests that this renovating of period style homes is one of two types of projects that are currently the “bread and butter” of the building design industry. The other is brand new developments happening in suburbs like Bentleigh and Avondale Heights.
Here, there has been a shift from developers building three or four unit blocks to a two-unit design. Not only does this allow the developer to make as much profit as they would if they were developing three or four units, it is leading to more beautifully designed and executed homes springing up all over Melbourne. This is all being helped by new 3D technology allowing ever more accurate and complex homes to be designed.
The number of projects like these has led to high demand for jobs in the sector. “I’ve never come across a student who can’t find a job,” says Michael.
“There’s ex-students of ours that call up once they are registered and are working for themselves and say, ‘I need someone from Melbourne Polytechnic because I went there. I know the culture of the place. I know what the teachers are giving [students] in terms of knowledge and skills.’ And there’s a number, probably two dozen or so offices out there that will only take our students because of these reasons.”
Jobs aren’t the only benefit of the course, either. “Students really enjoy this course because it forces them to get out of their homes and explore other suburbs. They understand different suburbs and get out of the area they grew up in. It makes them a better person.”
Interested in becoming a building designer? Or, looking for a pathway into architecture? Find more information on our Building Design courses here.
Interview / Photo Opportunity
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