As Perth continues to transform and expand its urban footprint, never has there been a greater need for ‘good design’
Willing is heeding the call, developing in the neighbourhoods we love, to benefit both new families and existing residents seeking a new place to call home.
Leading the way
Perth’s current housing problem is well documented. At Willing, we believe these issues are often exacerbated by developments that give little thought to factors beyond the site, narrowing their focus on code requirements like plot ratio and height while ignoring the broader surrounds, cultural context and future needs. It’s why we still see projects with a very fixed focus on cars and parking in an era when walking, cycling, uber and electric cars will be the way of the future.
Willing and its partners believe strongly in the power of Good Design to lead Perth into a new era of thoughtful place development. Working in collaboration with the best architects and consultant teams possible, we’re delivering new homes and shops where success is measured not just in sales figures, but in the positive contribution made to local neighbourhoods, the surrounding community, and the people who call our buildings home.
Ultimately, this is about refreshing ‘the cycle of life’. The stories of our neighbourhoods are ingrained on the streets from the families that lived there. Without the right housing mix, we lose the families and couples who grew up in the area. Good design creates exciting opportunities, not just for new families to add to the cultural fabric, but for the mums and dads and grandparents who can now downsize from the family home while their children start their own journeys, together in the same suburb they know and love.
Giving the people a voice
Inspired by the refreshing development philosophies of owner Tim Willing, who thinks more in heritage, character and community value than in spreadsheets, we want the concept of good design to spark robust conversations in the community around creating spaces that bring distinct energy and vibrancy to the unique neighbourhoods we build in.
We understand people don’t like change. Anything ‘new’ is not always popular. The problem, however, with who is judging it, and how. Often the voices that get heard are the loud local few who effectively act as self-appointed guardians of their community. Passion for your community is great, we love it. Yet too often it’s based on fear of things like the ‘height’ of a development, rather than badly designed buildings or poor land use. Our hope is to counter those views by encouraging the silent majority who support good design to find their voice and back developers who stand for positive change.
The need for change in this area is palpable. Good design is not defined by law – it’s up to designers, planners, developers, and the community to collectively implement good design practices for the betterment of Perth’s neighbourhoods. Development is not a populist pursuit, yet not one neighbourhood or city would be where we are today without developers – and we all benefit when someone gets it right.
Our recently award-winning Clifton & Central development has already proven the power of good design to open minds and change opinions for the better. While initially standing with residents in opposition to the development, since having toured the completed building the City of Stirling, and many of Perth’s town planners, now celebrates it – using it as an example of good design for other developers to follow,
Many local residents have warmed to it too. With only 15 apartments (on a site that could have fit 30), many have realised the building is not imposing like they thought it would be, while others have commented that they love what the ground floor shops like Willing Coffee and Bar Vino bring to the community.
The principles of Good Design
So, what is good design? At Willing, we believe good design is beautiful. And while attractiveness is certainly measurable, to us, the concept of ‘beautiful’ is far more intricate, covering everything from the way the design elevates our residents’ quality of life to the long-lasting benefits experienced by the communities and neighbourhoods we live and work in. Put simply, we want to create buildings we’re proud of, judged by the legacy we leave behind.
Local context is everything. Designs must respond to the surrounding environment in ways that pay homage to the history and character of a place, while also pushing us towards a 5-star Green sustainability target. Pinning that down is an art, with careful consideration given to the cumulative effect of how all the area’s different traits and features come together to give the area its own unique sense of place and community meaning.
The insights you uncover trickle down to countless project decisions, impacting everything from the way it looks, to the way it feels, its impact on the surrounding landscape, how it activates the streetscape, its ability to complement heritage buildings, and the ease of which it connects people with public transport, amenities and each other.
This deep interplay of variables seeks to create successful, sustainable neighbourhoods that are culturally rich and easy to navigate, with the power to make people feel safe and socially connected in ways that are vital to wellbeing and happiness.
More than good intentions
Making Good Design a reality takes a considered and comprehensive process. At Willing, establishing a design typically takes more than one year from inception, commencing with a brief from developer to architects and early involvement with planners as well as intensive engagement with council.
An essential element is peer review by a specialist panel of professionals, each with their own area of expertise, from heritage considerations, to architectural, landscape, sustainability and interior design. This Design Review Panel process is undertaken, with alterations made throughout, to meet the guidance of the group of industry professionals who are impartial to the commercial elements of the project.
During this process, our consultant engineers work to ensure the intricacies of waste management, parking and traffic flow are also well considered. It is only after all of this that a project is lodged for Development Approval.
Actions speak loudest
The principles of Good Design drive Willing to build sustainable developments and environments that deliver lasting benefits for future generations. Working in collaboration with some of Australia’s most celebrated architects, engineers, planners, designers and industry experts, we’re proud to create places that feel part of the fabric of local communities.
Willing’s timeless buildings are designed for a hundred years, handed down from generation to generation. Special attention is placed at every opportunity to ensure we embrace the area’s local character, from design concepts and material selection to harnessing traditional building and construction techniques, with many features meticulously crafted by hand to ensure they stand the test of time.
The difference is in the detail. We approach every development by asking ourselves how we would like to live if it were our home. To us, apartments are not a commodity – they’re a home, a safe haven. It’s why the homes we seek to deliver are what we call ‘the middle’. For us this means home sized apartments and townhomes with beautiful amenity like pools, gyms, yoga rooms, dog washes and saunas, and where possible, a curated collection of new village shops, cafés and bars.
Celebrating people and places
For us, it’s about much more than creating landmark buildings. That’s why wherever it serves the community, Willing developments weave shops into the design, leading to intriguing streetscapes and village atmospheres where people want to linger and connect, with street level shops that are filled with carefully considered owner-operator shopkeepers who are genuinely invested in the community.
Our European-inspired Willing Coffee espresso bars, at the base of our Guildford and Mt Lawley developments, have quickly become a mecca for lovers of fine coffee and the European café culture, while Bar Vino in Mt Lawley draws in locals and visitors from near and far to share good times with family and friends, enjoying a meticulously curated wine list and Italian inspired fare.
As Willing’s portfolio grows, our focus is on ensuring a legacy of timeless, character architecture that brings people together and enriches the stories of the suburbs we grew up in.
Are you willing to #SupportGoodDesign?
Your voice matters. We need a collective voice to be heard that serves to help deliver the types of housing we need, now and into the future.
We know it’s you, the local families, neighbours, teachers, workers and shopkeepers, who make the suburbs we grow up in what they are. Your unwavering support is vital to ensuring developments like our Clifton & Central project are given approval to exist, ensuring local communities benefits from everything that makes them such an overwhelming success.