This is old Brunswick, it’s industrial, it’s run down and it’s dirty. It sounds gruesome but there is also a strange endearing quality about this area. The silver lining is the people of Brunswick. It is a melting pot of migrant activity, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, African all coming together here. There is no judgment, everyone is part of one totally imperfect community.The Commons is an experiment in building an urban community. It could have only worked in a few Melbourne locations. There is no accident that it sits adjacent to Anstey Station in the heart of old Brunswick. At it’s core, The Commons is about people not architectural form. What is really impressive here is the way in which people use the building, the way they interact, it’s how they smile and talk to each other in the lift, it’s their generosity toward one another. The sense of community and camaraderie that has already developed here is incredible. The Commons is filled with great neighbours and good people. I would like to think that the architecture has been the catalyst for this outcome, a magnet for people of similar values to come together to build a community. The design strategy for The Commons was to build more with less. To give space and height, light and air. To give people what they needed not what the marketing agents thought would sell. The Commons is made up of a series of small, but delightful architectural moments. And the whole, together, is so much more than the sum of its parts.
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