Shaping a home for the Victorian Women’s Trust

SHAPE Melbourne has announced the completion of its latest not-for-profit project to create a permanent home for Victorian Women’s Trust (VWT).

Established in 1985, VWT is a proudly independent feminist organisation that supports women, girls and gender diverse people to thrive. VWT focuses on creating a gender-equal world by creating and delivering social change projects and campaigns, conducting research, providing mentorship opportunities, running events, and distributing grants to grassroots organisations and communities.

VWT relies on donations and grants to deliver ambitious gender equality projects. After 30 years of renting and moving between office spaces in the CBD, the organisation was gifted significant funds from a long-term donor which enabled the organisation to build a permanent home. As a result, VWT purchased two shop fronts in the bustling heart of Clifton Hill.

Beginning as a cold shell fitout, the project required a base building upgrade by demolishing adjoining partitions between two tenancies. The project scope included the installation of partitions that made up two offices, a multipurpose room, open workspace area, kitchen, and Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant accessible bathroom. A cold shell fitout also required the team to install new services which included hydraulics, mechanics, and electrics.

The project was designed to have a small footprint, with sustainability and versatility at the forefront. Over a period of 3 months, SHAPE worked with Siren Design Group to bring life to VWT’s vision. The design concept was based around the female body utilising contours, curves, and neutral tones. During the design process, the team and VWT dedicated their efforts to value engineering options and the scope was largely to find and reuse donated furniture.

The SHAPE team were able to deliver bespoke joinery items, procure workstations and task chairs for VWT from previous SHAPE projects. Meeting place room chairs were also donated by Schiavello and donated Altro products were installed in the DDA bathroom in lieu of tiles.

We’re thrilled to have permanent home for Victorian Women’s Trust. Our new space allows us to welcome visitors and inspires our people to work toward our goals.

Esther Hoang-Le, Project Engineer at SHAPE, says, “My favourite part of the project was delivering not only on Siren’s design vision but on what VWT hoped to have built. Being a part of the design process allowed us to explore value management options that largely focused on finding and reusing donated furniture to create a high-quality project at minimal cost. To be able to deliver bespoke joinery items, procure practically brand-new workstations for VWT and to see the joy that this space brings to their team is fantastic.”

Leah McPherson, Major Projects & Initiatives Officer at VWT, says, “We’re thrilled to have permanent home for Victorian Women’s Trust. Our new space allows us to welcome visitors and inspires our people to work toward our goals. We thank the SHAPE team and Siren Design Group for their dedication and expertise, which made the whole process enjoyable, and all the generous subcontractors that donated materials and their time.”

Thank you to everyone who has donated their time and materials to this project, especially designers Siren Design Group and our generous subcontractors – Marshall Air, SPI Plumbing, Zip Industries, LUME Electrical Solutions, Zumbotel, BRL Construction, True Coverings, Altro Limited, IBM, Enviroscope, ALD Expert Demo, Urbano Construction and Baigents Pty Ltd

Read more on this project in our case study here.