Make Room honoured with four Apartment Awards for Excellence

Make Room wins awards

Make Room, a re-purposed heritage CBD Archive building providing 50 apartments for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness with 24/7 wrap-around services, won four awards at the Victorian Apartment Awards for Excellence. Make Room won the Heritage and Community Culture, Pioneering and Civic Leadership categories as well as taking home the Judges Award.

The judges praised Make Room for its leadership, noting that if all councils adopted similar initiatives, homelessness could be addressed on a national scale.

This groundbreaking project, a partnership between the City of Melbourne, Unison Housing, the Victorian Government, and the philanthropic sector, aims to tackle chronic homelessness in Melbourne. Collaborating with cohealth, i2C Architects, Harris HMC, and corporate funders, the project innovates in service models, architectural design, funding, and construction partnerships, incorporating Unison’s social enterprise into its design.

i2C is proud to be working with the Make Room partners on this ambitious project that will help people break the cycle of homelessness and take the first crucial step to secure long-term housing”. Associate and Residential Lead Gavin Salt is passionate about helping create a home that residents can be proud of. “As designers, we are using our skillset to improve someone’s life in a meaningful and tangible way. We are specifying high-quality products and materials that add value to the space and ultimately create a better experience for the people using it” says, Gavin.

Make Room Wins Awards
Make Room Wins Awards

Due for practical completion in September 2024, the $24.9 million Make Room project provides tailored, short-term supported accommodation and wrap-around services to transition people experiencing rough sleeping and chronic homelessness into sustainable housing. It repurposes a City of Melbourne owned building at 602 Little Bourke Street into specialist accommodation for 50 residents at a time and creates a rooftop garden space.

Make Room has taken a collaborative and innovative approach to funding. City of Melbourne provided the building valued at $12 million to Unison for 20 years and funding for the refurbishment and service delivery has been provided through a combination of $9 million from the Victorian Government, more than $7.2 million from philanthropic support, and contributions from the corporate sector.

“The current housing crisis demands collective action to create meaningful change. Make Room exemplifies the power of collaboration between a community housing organisation, local and state government, philanthropic organisations, and the private sector,” says Unison Housing CEO James King

Make Room not only meets immediate acute housing needs but is also designed to be replicated, potentially benefiting communities nationwide. This is the first known adaptive reuse project in Australia to use a Council asset to deliver supported housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. As a pilot project for the City of Melbourne’s Adaptive Reuse Guidelines, the project has far-reaching impact.

The project’s leadership and partnership are underpinned by a collective impact approach, focused on delivering high-quality outcomes across all key project areas. This includes innovative approaches to the architectural design process, construction partnerships, and service model development.

“We commend i2C Architects and builders Harris HMC for leading from the front with each studio apartment undergoing a complete retrofit to the highest standards. Thank you for helping us change lives.” City of Melbourne, Lord Mayor Nick Reece.

i2C team: Gavin Salt, Claire Bowles, Mags Uscinowicz, Dan Coman

i2C Architects

i2C Architects