Healthy Communities by design

[Header graphics: row of VDD projects - competition entry graphics and built housing photographs.]



Volume 4 October January2013


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Visionary Design Development Pty Ltd logo


Happy New Year from everyone at Visionary Design Development. We would like to take the opportunity via this newsletter to update our clients, colleagues and associates on recent activities, and take a peek at what’s on the horizon for 2013.



HOME Competition Restorative Community.

Highly Commended, Unbuilt Category, ArchiTeam Awards 2012


(Main Graphic showing extract of competition entry)



(Four photos showing various attendees at Opening Exhibition)

ArchiTeam Directors, Awards Recipients and other Guests enjoying the hospitality of the Exhibition Opening Night, 22 November 2012 at No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne. Photo credit: ArchiTeam.


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(Graphic shows family group including children and wheelchair user under a stylised shelter.)

Throughout history and into the future Architecture has and will have many and varied meanings, goals and aspirations. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) said that human beings form communities to satisfy four basic social desires; conviviality, religion, artistic/intellectual growth and politics, in essence, the ‘good life’.  Vitruvius’ (1st Century BC) postulated one of the most enduring concepts in architectural history, the requirement for ‘Architecture’ to possess ‘firmness, commodity and delight’. Spiro Kostaf (1936 – 1991) stated that ‘Architecture is a social act and the material theatre of human activity’.


However, particularly for people with disabilities, the built environment often does not meet even the most basic of needs: a functional home, access to local amenities and open space, an accessible, pleasant place to work, opportunities of fresh air and leisure, and a clean, dignified and safe environment. Communities need accessible, affordable housing, gathering places and orderly infrastructure.


Good architecture provides the physical framework for better services, better awareness, better interaction and ultimately better equality in our modern society. Good architecture affirms social values bringing coherence and order to our built environment for the benefit of all. Architecture matters.




(Lefthand photograph, our Expo stand. Righthand photo, meeting with teachers.)


Our Eco Cubby/ Science Station project at Warringa Park School is gaining momentum! The design team: Soledad Maldonado, Katherine Sampson and Nicole Mechkaroff, were available to explain the project to the school community at the recent christmas party. The support from the school has been fantastic and we look forward to turning this into a reality.



(Extract from preliminary design drawings for social housing project, showing possible elevational treatment.)


Appointed by the DHS, we have also embarked on another social housing project, again on two separate sites. Accessibility and sustainability principles will inform our solution.


We are also in the design phase of alterations and additions to a small, single-fronted, inner city terrace. A notable consideration in this project is facilitating visitability for the vision-impaired mother of the owner.



Visionary Design Development Accessibility, Architecture, Research, Community Development, Sustainability


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Healthy Communities by design

[Header graphics: row of VDD projects - competition entry graphics and built housing photographs.]




(Photograph showing VDD Latin American representatives.)


Our Latin American representatives (from left to right: Thyago, Karol and Daniel) have recently been involved in a Victorian Government Infrastructure, Sustainability and Related Services Trade Mission to Chile and Brasil. The team presented VDD’s case for greater accessibility in the urban realm by speaking to a number of organisations such as Shannon Powell from The Global Foundation and Pedro Correa from SENADIS. In a short period of time, the team managed to have meetings at the Chilean Chamber of Construction, The Ministry of Housing and Urbanism, and so on.


VDD would like to thank all those that made this Mission a success, with particular thanks to George Di Scala (DBI Vic Gov), Roger Frankel (Frank Advice) and Candida Costa (ICN). We also look forward to strengthening our relationships with fellow mission delegates. Following the mission, VDD is currently discussing the possibility of developing/ adapting VDD’s accessibility assessment tools and providing expertise to evaluate public space in Chile.


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31: Closing date for applications for The Rome Prize in Architecture. Six-month residency providing British or Commonwealth postgraduate students/ early career architects with extraordinary first-hand experiences of the buildings and cities of Italy.



5: The Future of Metropolitan Planning at Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

6: Planning for Low Carbon Development at Melbourne Energy Institute.

15-17: Sustainable Living Festival at Federation Square.

28: First Architects for Peace Words for 2013. Check out the new venue at VCA.



22: Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures at Melbourne Museum.




(Diagrammatic map of subject country indicating extent of severe flooding area. Diagram of housing solution. House is part single storey and part double storey.)

VDD actively seeks out difficult contexts that challenge our ability to achieve accessibility within problematic architectural environments. One way we do this is through entering competitions. Our latest submission responds to a brief to design a sustainable house for under $2,000 (for the low income) that is resilient to the known seasonal threat of flood, in a developing country.




(Lefthand side: National Planning Congress Canberra logo, Righthand side: Making Cities Livable conference logo.)

Ralph and Mary Ann’s Abstract, Assessing Accessibility Collaboratively, has been accepted for presentation at the 2013 PIA National Congress in Canberra in March 2013. Also, our Abstract Achieving an Accessible Healthy Community: Assessing Accessibility in the Built Environment has been accepted for the 50th International Making Cities Livable Conference in Portland, OR, June 23-27, 2013. We will be submitting formal papers for peer review for both conferences as well. Both presentations/ papers discuss the accessibility assessment tools developed by VDD; the Universal Mobility Index (UMI) and the Advanced Access Auditing Methodology (AAAM). Results from both the first UMI pilot and the first AAAM project will be presented.



Mary Ann has recently been elevated to Fellow, (Royal) Australian Institute of Architects. Nick and Kamil both successfully completed  2nd semester 2012 design studios (undertaking urban scale activation projects) at The University of Melbourne with High Distinctions. VDD welcomes Marjan, an Iranian architecture graduate, currently on a 4wk work placement.


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THROUGHOUT THIS YEAR …….and beyond, Visionary Design Development Pty Ltd looks forward to collaborating with you in accessibility, architecture, research, community development and sustainability. Come and visit us in our office, address details below, or at a location of your choice.


Visionary Design Development Pty Ltd logo

Suite 8/ 204 Dryburgh Street,

North Melbourne 3051 Australia

Tel +61 3 9329 7887

Fax +61 3 9376 6020



Skype: majvdd

LinkedIn: Mary Ann Jackson



Visionary Design Development Pty Ltd Accessibility, Architecture, Research, Community Development, Sustainability