The developers of ARM Architecture’s ‘Swanston Square’, an 85 metre apartment building featuring a portrait of an Indigenous Australian figure on its façade, have donated over $270,000 of the building’s sale revenue to a charity for affordable housing. 

Grocon finished the development of Melbourne’s Swanston Square last month and have since donated a percentage of the building’s apartment sale revenue to the Homes for Homes scheme, which was established by Big Issue in 2013.

Homes for Homes is a voluntary scheme that encourages homeowners and other property stakeholders such as developers and banks to make a tax deductible donation of 0.1 per cent of their property price, at the time they sell.

Funds raised through Homes for Homes will be distributed to existing social and affordable housing service providers to build properties based on the areas of greatest housing need.

Grocon have also committed to donating to the Homes for Homes scheme in all future apartment projects in which they are the developers and they control the sale outcome.

Swanston Square’s 32-storey façade, which uses line-art theory and a clever contrasting façade to create an 85 metre portrait of historic Indigenous Australian land rights activist William Barak, has been subject to debate since it was unveiled in March.

One essay from university professor Christine Hansen was particularly negative towards the project, calling it a cruel juxtaposition of Barak’s lifetime commitment to Aboriginal land rights. This then prompted Architect Andrew Mackenzie to defend the design and ARM Architecture's close consultation with Wurundjeri Elders on the project.