When Penny Sun looked to her Pillar development project in the prestigious Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn, she was moved by the beautiful heritage listed church that was to become the property’s neighbour. Where some developers might have placed a fence, Penny saw an opportunity to embrace the presence of the church quite literally. She and her team at Miura Group worked with the architects to design a colonnaded, curved structure that would open the length of Pillar to the church, gently curving around the building. It was not necessarily the most cost effective design option, but it epitomises her development philosophy, one that respects the development’s context and looks to complement and involve itself with its surrounds.
This sense of purpose, integrity and respect is in Penny’s DNA. Her mother is of Manchu descent, a Chinese ethnic minority famed for horsemanship and archery skills in both men and women.
China is well known for its preference of sons, but Penny’s family raised her and her sister to be strong and independent, giving them every opportunity men in the culture would receive.
Her parents would even refer to Penny and her younger sister as “first son” and “second son”! This upbringing has been a major factor in her career journey and the success she has enjoyed.
She arrived in Australia as a student and completed three master’s degrees, in finance, accounting and management. After graduating, she entered corporate life and worked her way up through the listed company she joined, before deciding to take more control of her destiny and moved on to property development.
The world of property development is dominated by men, but Penny has brought the strength of her upbringing to bear and has shown remarkable progress in breaking down the gender divide associated with the industry. A no nonsense, “firm but fair” way of working has seen her deliver a range of projects, including a luxury beach house, a chic, 15 apartment development in Brunswick and now the aforementioned Pillar apartment development in Hawthorn.
A major inspiration in Penny’s life was her grandfather, a kung fu master. His own “firm but fair” style is characterised by a philosophy of stepping in and responding to help others, but never being an aggressor. Penny has modelled her own behaviours on this, and though she is known for being strong-minded, direct and opinionated, she’s also known for being uncompromisingly honest and dependable.
Penny’s success is steeped in laserlike focus on quality. It’s clear that hers is no cookiecutter approach to building homes. It’s bespoke, purpose led development, created by teams of designers and craftspeople that have responded to Penny’s ethos and direction.
It’s not hard to see that Penny applies her experience when working with her teams. She sees the strengths and weaknesses in the team and sets them up so they complement each other. She really knows how to bring out the best in people. This approach has gained her respect in the industry, as well as results in the market.
It’s fair to say that there’s a strong sense of collaboration in how she works, forming the right team for each project and charging them with the responsibility for delivering high quality work. This is underpinned by a great ability to read the situation and the people involved. This ability itself seems related to some of her earliest experiences in China. Her family owned a timber business there and Penny learned from early on to recognise what quality meant. She visited plantations with her parents and came to know the different varieties of trees.
Her parents would expect her to know whether it was a hardwood or a softwood, and understand the best uses for each type. She learned to examine trees and see beneath the surface, understanding its value and appreciating its natural variety. Every tree contains its own imperfections, but if you know the timber well, you know how to work with those imperfections and get the best results from it.
That intimate knowledge of timber has also become a major characteristic of her design aesthetic. If there’s an opportunity to bring the natural world to the design through the use of materials like timber, she takes them. This appreciation of natural materials has become a hallmark of her developments.
Penny’s balanced approach to development is informed by her balanced approach to life. Her deep affinity with nature grew with her exposure to plantations and forests, and now through a range of outdoor activities, meditation and yoga, she cuts through the noise that life as a busy citybased property developer can bring. This allows her to crystallize innovative, inspiring solutions to the design problems she meets.
Penny is clearly not an average person. Focus, hard work and a love of meeting challenges head on sets her apart. It’s become apparent very quickly that the work of this exceptional young women is going to turn heads throughout the industry. More importantly, the quality of her projects will deliver incredible living experiences for those lucky enough to take possession of one of her homes. It’s worth keeping your eye out for her name and if you can, make one of her developments your home.
Penny的人生观深受她祖父的启发 – 一名功夫大师。他所提倡的“坚定且公平”的风格特点是一种哲学，可以介入或回应帮助别人，但是永远不要做侵略者。她以此为榜样并塑造自己的行为—意志顽强、单刀直入和固执己见，不过，她也是以绝对的诚实可靠而为人知晓。