The Breathe Architecture team, whose projects include café spaces Seven Seeds and Brother Baba Budan, have collaborated with Creatives Spaces – an initiative to secure low-cost, inner-city spaces for Melbourne’s artists – to come up with River Studios, a complex of 57 studio spaces built from recycled and sustainable materials, made available for artists to hire, lease or share a space for a short period of time.

The Creative Spaces initiative is a joint venture by the City of Melbourne and Arts Victoria, which addresses the need for arty folks to do whatever messy or noisy work they need to do freely in an inner-city space. The venture also makes securing long-term leases easier for artists, taking risk of eviction away from the equation.

With its vast open space, exposed beams and the combination of concrete and steel, the old industrial building in West Melbourne proved ideal. Its existing structural features provided the perfect framework for constructing of functional working spaces for artists.

And if you think artists’ studios are all about messy trestle tables and rundown spaces, then think again. River Studios is a serious business, recently winning the Victorian Architecture Award.

The studio spaces have been snapped up fast too, with 75 artists renting out spaces in the three-storey warehouse. Among them is major contemporary artist 2007 Australian Venice Biennale representative Callum Morton, who has taken the whole first floor, photographer Hana Davies and the crafty people from A Gently Unfurling Sneak and Gaye Abandon.

River Studios will be open to public this weekend on Saturday July 30 and Sunday July 31 from 11am to 4pm.

River Studios
41-59 Sims Street, West Melbourne

creativespaces.net.au/case-studies/river-studios