Local architects add interest to Bendigo’s built landscape, from commercial projects to home-sweet-homes.

Photograph by Leon Schoots

Bendigo-based e+ architecture has been making a mark on Victoria’s landscape through five decades, with its team of architects designing new and transforming existing places into not only exquisite works of art but functional living and working spaces.
Projects of note include restoring the Bendigo Town Hall, commercial projects such as Coliban Water and Powercor, renovating myriad period homes, and redeveloping nearly 20 educational facilities across the state, including Girton Grammar, Kalianna School and government primary schools in Epsom, Marong, Eaglehawk and Spring Gully.
The design firm’s leadership team of directors/architects Terry Mitton, Nick Marino and Lucas Hodgens is expanding to include senior architects Rachel Hannan and Rimmon Martin.
Both have extensive experience in design and construction, having worked in Melbourne and overseas before moving to Bendigo in 2008. They are looking forward to helping guide e+ architecture into the future.
“We love contributing to Bendigo and being involved in many innovative and exciting projects that are taking place here,” Rimmon says.“ One of the gains of working regionally is the variety of work that keeps things really interesting. We don’t necessarily specialise in any type of architecture or type of project and I don’t think you can in regional areas.”
Lucas says taking a collaborative approach is key to e+ architecture’s ethos and success.
“The reason we are a ‘practice’ and not working as sole traders is so that we are able to share and test ideas, work in a studio environment and most importantly learn from one another,” he says. “Having the experience of Rachel and Rim in the practice has been great for our progress as a leading architectural firm, not only in Bendigo but Victoria.”
Being integral to the design of homes, commercial and education spaces in recent years has appealed to the architects.
“We have worked on some fantastic projects, but to be involved in education and create spaces for students to learn and create in, while having a sense of belonging, is something special,” Rimmon says. “The Epsom Primary School was a really successful project that Lucas won a state design award for, and we now have Marong Primary School having a significant upgrade, which will enhance the community.”
Providing connection within a community through a diverse range of projects is key to e+ architecture gaining and maintaining a reputation for providing innovative, functional and unique design, they say.
“Diversity can bring many positives to the community,” Rachel says. “Commercial and education projects require broarder public engagement and, therefore, wider contribution to the city landscape. Whereas residential enables us to maintain a more intimate connection with people in the design and construction of homes, and it’s these private projects that can sometimes offer the opportunity for real refinement of design and to explore more interesting design outcomes.”
This includes a strong interest in bringing alternative housing models to Bendigo. It’s an approach that considers the social, financial and environmental sustainability implications of building homes for people and not profit.
“We are very interested in how Bendigo grows and housing stock is a real issue here, as there’s not a lot of variety. Any changes or positive impacts we can have on that, we are really interested in,” Rimmon says.
Adds Rachel: “The regions are starting to have that potential for exponential growth that Melbourne has experienced and learning from the issues that have cropped up in the city will ensure we get better housing outcomes, which is important for our community.”