Effective place-making begins with the people

The beating heart of successful architectural place-making is undoubtedly the local community.
It’s a responsibility that must be taken seriously if we want architectural legacy to be more than merely good-looking buildings. When approaching the once-in-a-lifetime Kinglake Village project, our team had a very unique set of circumstances to guide our design intentions to ensure an outcome that was both meaningful and functional. Kinglake is a gateway for tourists exploring some of the finest scenery Victoria has to offer. But, more than that, it is home to a resilient and passionate group of people who need to live, work and play in a functional, welcoming, well-resourced and healthy community.

Researching this region’s history – both long-standing and more recent – was a critical part of our involvement with the Kinglake Village design. With the impact and aftermath of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire tragedy still prominent in the hearts and minds of Kinglake’s residents and visitors, we knew that this project was about much more than architecture. Recognising and understanding the area’s recent history gave our team a clear focus to create a space that really would reward everyone it connected to. Effective place-making really is about capitalising on a local community’s assets and creating inspirational design that enables even more potential to be realised.

To achieve community health, happiness and well-being that is sustainable and genuine, spaces must reflect the real needs of the community members and visitors who will utilise the development – something that can only be done through active and detailed consultation with key stakeholders. In collaboration with all development partners we held a public forum to showcase our initial intentions for the design and implementation of Kinglake Village. Appreciating and engaging with the very community that would be involved with the space on a day-to-day basis was vital in helping us understand exactly what the people wanted and why. Afterall, effective placemaking begins and ends with the people.

By combining premium local dining, artist-friendly atelier spaces, commercial space for local businesses to lease and a place where small business mingles with well-known retailers, the Genton team look forward to playing our part in supporting the Kinglake community’s vision to make Kinglake Village as destination for Melbourne visitors – as well as an important community centre. With construction due for completion in late 2020, Steven Toia, with fellow Genton Principal and Architect, Marc Debney, are excited to have the opportunity to leave the community at Kinglake with a resource they can all take pride in for generations. ‘That’s what real place-making is, “ says Steve. “Designing spaces that truly serve and enhance the community they are part of is the essence of quality, sustainable Architectural design.”