In the most literal sense, boutique architecture refers to the structure and from of elite fashion and jewellery houses. Now, however, the term ’boutique’ is used to indicate any development that is unique, individual and more, often than not, a justification for selling pricy goods.
The term ’boutique architecture’ takes on a very different meaning in the Victorian capital. With the city’s mass cultural appeal based on its uniqueness, Melbourne is home to a built environment known for its unique lane way bars, hotels and office spaces.
Now, urban density is driving a number of major changes in Melbourne, given the city’s status as being on the verge of a major population boom. For this reason, designers and architects are aiming to develop unique and attractive housing units on small footprints, with their appeal often appearing in boutique-style elements.
This is certainly the case for Lance Chu and Chenghan Tan of SC Land, who are in high demand for creating boutique housing across Melbourne, particularly in the more expensive suburbs. With five local projects under their belts, the pair spoke to the Australian about the change in the housing dynamic in Melbourne and its resulting boutique atmosphere.
“I think because our projects are a bit smaller they have that boutique feel. It appeals to people who want to be in a smaller building as opposed to a larger building,” says Chu. “We also keep our projects very small so we can control them from an architectural standpoint.”
“A lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon of doing all these high-density apartment projects with smaller apartment footprints, and there really wasn’t much thought perhaps in the design,” says Chu.
According to Chu and Tan, the scale of new housing is leading the boutique trend as more focus can be given to finer, more intricate details when a space falls on a smaller footprint.
This, however, comes with a price.
As with bespoke – or boutique – pricing, developments of this genre are on the pricy side. Even the more affordable boutique living spaces range in the millions. This is, however, a price that many Melbournians are willing to pay for quality of living and design integrity. It is, after all, what makes the architectural character so unique in the city.