Ivan Rijavec during an interview with The Fifth Estate

26 February 2013 — Melbourne architect Ivan Rijavec, a co-artistic director of the Now and When exhibition for the Venice Biennale  has come up with a new concept to crowd source niche residential projects, from “urban grey” to  “gay grey” and any number of demographic sectors in between.

The new project, CitiNiche, aims to empower off the plan purchasers with far more choice than currently available. It might source an apartment building for people happy to forego all car parking, or that has a large roof garden, or is friendly to pets.

The project will be launched by City of Yarra Mayor Jackie Fristacky and Victorian Government architect Geoffrey London next week, on 6 March. Project partners include Hickory Group, Rijavec Architecture, BKK Architects, Creo Libera, Jackson Clements Burrows, Hamton and Robert Simeoni Architects.

  • See our interview with Ivan Rijavec and Sydney based planner Julie Bindon

Citiniche managing director Ivan Rijavec, who worked collaboratively with Adam Smith, Brian Ashton and Dan Oxnam on the project, said a future where developments contributed to community and had a positive impact on the environment was possible.

“CitiNiche uses the proven and growing trend of social networks and online communication to help individuals form common interest niche groups that work with industry professionals to shape design and development of bespoke housing,” he said.

“The market predictions of profit-driven real estate consultants are replaced by the
preferences of an engaged public who knows what it wants.

“Tapping into the connectivity of the web, people who share lifestyle values, aspirations and
housing preferences come together to prove market viability in niche spheres like the urban
grey, urban gay, sustainable and pet-friendly.

“These groups have the opportunity to liaise with relevant developers and inform designs from which niche housing can spring.

“They attract development professionals through their social capital, which gives rise to potential ventures with reduced risk and broad architectural scope.”

Mr Rijavec said CitiNiche put residents and developers on the same side by encouraging community involvement in development projects.

Years of urban planning expertise helps to match potential customers with potential developers and promotes mutually beneficial projects that supersede the outdated, conservative status quo of traditional development, he said.

Benefits for individuals include

  • in communication and networking choices
  • input to design process
  • market power of groups
  • the ability to attract top developers through viable projects
  • greater efficiencies and reduced costs
  • superior bespoke housing
  • greater diversity of housing
  • early investment opportunities.

Mr Rijavec said the long-term vision for CitiNiche was to become a leader in housing
design and innovation through its alternative development model, and by promoting the
positive social values of community, sustainability, creative design and equality.

“CitiNiche supports a more cohesive, proactive and pragmatic debate about the current planning and development process,” he said.

“In 2013, additional features will be added to the CitiNiche website as each niche grows and
their role in possible projects progresses.

“The website has been designed to extend its reach and applicability to an international audience with a roll-out beyond Victoria planned for 2014.”

  • See the CitiNiche website  here.

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published.