Picture yourself in crisis.  Money is scarce, food hard to come by, a meagre roof over your head. Social housing such as this is often seen as an eyesore by surrounding communities, but one group in Western Australia wants to change all that.

FORM is an independent, non-profit organisation that develops and advocates excellence in creativity and artistic practice in Western Australia

Its vision for social housing incorporates soft infrastructure, brings residents together and dispels the negative perceptions that often go hand-in-hand with these developments.  FORM wanted to create a unique and active community where residents share meals, garden and get to know one another in a supportive environment.

Through a pro-bono partnership with FORM and Foundation Housing, AECOM’s Perth team is helping to create a new model of affordable housing that hopes to set the benchmark for future community developments.

AECOM’s landscape architects developed interactive communal spaces including five distinct zones, and created multiple retreats for the residents to relax, stay active or work on their green thumbs in the garden.

Globally renowned artists have volunteered their time to paint murals on the sides of the building, and residents are learning how to create bookshelves and small pieces of furniture from recycled materials to assist the interior and exterior design.

Interactive cooking sessions between residents and designers helped establish a sense of community amongst everyone involved, while allowing the residents to have a say in the future of their building.

Walter Van Der Loo, Practice Leader – Design Planning, Western Australia, and Tom Griffiths, Senior Landscape Architect, even had the opportunity to make tacos with the residents and discuss ideas for exterior spaces.

“Sharing a chopping board, prepping and eating lunches together on the patio of 100 Hampton has helped the AECOM team better appreciate how the vulnerable residents of the Lodge could benefit from improvements to the facility, making it a more welcoming and positively engaging home base from which they can continue on the journey to rebuild their lives.”