Milestones // Celebrating 25 Years in Business with VIA’s Managing Director, Frank Bambino
Frank Bambino is a highly skilled design expert, respected mentor and industry thought leader. Leading a team of over 30 design professionals on a highly diverse project portfolio, Frank has become an architectural luminary within the industry.
We recently sat down with Frank to chat about his impressive career, commercial success and commitment to innovation.
Q: Your recently celebrated your 25 years in business. What have been your career highlights to date?
My career highlights correlate to the tangible impact we’ve had on the people and communities we create for. There’s no greater reward than the knowledge that our work is making a difference in the lives of others, and some of my fondest memories stem from the reactions we’ve experienced.
One such memory follows the completion of an independent living development at St Joseph’s, Brunswick. Part of our remit involved designing a modest unit for resident Sister Theresa, a devoted nun for many years. Move-in day arrived and the level of pure excitement and joy that spread across her face is an expression I will never forget. The considered design, functionality and scale of her new unit made a tremendous difference to her life.
Over the years we’ve achieved a standing in the industry as leaders, visionaries and innovators. Our united commitment to drive change within the communities we design for has allowed us to evolve into an architecture practice we are immensely proud of. This is particularly evident within our work for the seniors’ living sector, where our human-led approach has allowed us to guide the sector’s evolution.
Q: VIA is well regarded for the variety of sectors and communities they design and masterplan. What was your initial sector focus at the start of your career?
My career started in the residential homes sector, but it wasn’t long before I diversified my portfolio and put myself and my team forward to tender on major commercial hubs.
Within a short time-frame, we became the go-to architecture practice for a number of major corporations, namely Westpac and Telstra. We were entrusted with designing their most significant, large-scale projects, which was not only successful from a commercial perspective, but extremely fulfilling for myself and my team.
Our portfolio continued to grow over time across residential, commercial and hospitality. This diversity complemented our expansion into seniors living, where design, functionality and purpose required a unique balance. When we first entered seniors’ living, the sector was institutional and lacking a human approach. Rather than conforming, we chose to challenge this traditional way of thinking and apply our unique knowledge and perspective to the projects we designed.
Our design talent and commitment to innovation quickly saw us become industry leaders.
Q: As mentioned earlier, VIA is now regarded as a leader within the seniors’ living sector. How did you branch out into the sector?
In 2007, we were appointed to design a new seniors’ living facility for Jewish Care. This was our first major foray into the sector, and we committed our all; giving the project a level of consideration unbeknown to the sector at the time. Through learning the intricacies of the business and listening to the needs of the local community, we delivered a purposeful space that was commended by our peers.
It wasn’t long until we evolved from designing communities to masterplanning them – becoming a trusted partner alongside some of Australia’s leading aged care providers including Arcare, Advent Care, Ryman Healthcare, Palm Lake Resorts and TLC Healthcare.
Q: You’ve empowered a team of talented young professionals, currently standing at over 30+ people, throughout their careers. How has this benefited VIA’s design ethos and point of difference in the industry?
Our team’s strengths lie in their ability to think outside of the box. As a studio, we encourage that style of thinking at all levels – from the most junior architects all the way up to our directors.
Our studio will always be a learning environment, where staff are inspired and feel that they belong. This is evident in the work they produce, and the dedicated approach they take to every project they are engaged on. Watching architectural graduates move up the ranks into senior positions is rewarding and very humbling. It might sound corny, but it is like a family. When your team succeeds and their project succeeds, you feel an unmatched sense of pride.
Photography by: Jaime Diaz-Berrio
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