It seems trite to trot out the over-worn truism ‘change is inevitable’: but behind those bland t-shirt logo words stands unyielding fact. The implicit challenge, as architects, is how to effect change in a positive and meaningful way? Honouring the past while whole-heartedly saluting the future, 107 Cambridge Street, Collingwood takes that challenge on the chin.
Located in the former factories and warehouses of Foy & Gibson, this project shares a part of Australia’s history. Melbourne’s first department store, Foy & Gibson was part of the southern capital’s coming of age – a glamourous 19th century style temple on Smith Street that drew on the chic addresses in Paris and the United States, which soon spread into many other Australian cities. The nearby industrial facilities were no less elegant, designed by William Pitt, their red-brick facades have been landmark buildings in Collingwood – now one of Melbourne’s most desired inner-city neighbourhoods – ever since.
Now, Elenberg Fraser with developer Gurner TM, have put their own mark on this site, converting the Cambridge Street warehouses into sleek apartment residences. Like Mark Foy before us, we looked to international paragons for inspiration – New York City’s meatpacking district served as a model for contemporary, loft-style living. Rather than compete with the ornate heritage shell, we wanted to create a modern architectural counterpart, that would at once harmonise with the level of detail while offering contrast with the historic built form. The answer is a crisp, white intervention – a deceptively simple addition that upon closer inspection reveals delicate folded screens, reminiscent of Japanese artforms and matching the intricacy of the neighbouring brickwork. Scored diagonally, this fluttering gesture adds movement to the monochrome surface and indents and perforates the massing, which is broken up between the podium and upper level architecture.
Entering the building, residents are ensconced in the moody confines of a dark wood-lined library and mailroom, complete with chesterfields, forming a communal entrance lounge. A mirrored wall adds an extra dimension, amplifying the space.
We have emphasised the trademark volume of warehouse apartments – high ceilings and large, glass windows to pull in light, as well as flexible, modular spatial configurations. A predominantly monochrome palette adds to the sense of space and light, accented with detailing in industrial black metalwork and glints of aged brass.
The apartments also contain many of our own, distinctive touches. Repetition of form recalls ‘sculptures in the field’ such as Anish Kapoor’s mirrored public objects. Floating circles can be found in brass handles in the kitchen to bathroom mirrors, while suspended tubes support the vanity unit. Bespoke joinery is built around frames, creating useful and elegant ‘objects in space’ that are permeable rather than monolithic, such as the kitchen bench cum dining table, and full-height storage. Metallic details play with contrast: black metal frames surround perforated brass doors.
Interweaving local and global narratives, Cambridge Street blends industrial heritage with contemporary comfort and bespoke detailing. These are cosmopolitan environments fit for connoisseurs of international, urban living.
Council: Yarra City Council
Town Planner: Contour
Structural Engineer: Webber Design
Services Engineer: ADP Consulting
Building Surveyor: Gardner Group
Photography: Tom Blachford
Builder: Construction Engineering
Fire Engineer: Thomas Nicolas
Traffic Consultant: Traffix
Heritage Consultant: Bryce Raworth
BUILDING SPECIFICATION DETAILS: BUILDING FRAME & FABRIC
FLOORS: Reinforced concrete, for finishes refer apartment options.
EXTERNAL WALLS: Profiled Precast Panels, Window Wall Glazing.
DIVIDING WALLS: Insitu concrete / Stud framed plasterboard walls, acoustically treated between apartments and to corridors.
INTERNAL WALLS: Stud framed plasterboard walls.
ROOF: Reinforced concrete with waterproof membrane. Metal screening to all roof plant equipment.
WINDOWS / GLAZING: High performance double glazed window wall to all windows - satin black frame. Operable awning windows to all Bedrooms. Automatic sliding doors to Ground Floor Entry Lobby.
EXTERNAL BALUSTRADE: Clear frameless toughened glass
BALCONIES / TERRACES: Fully drained with selected tiles.
LANDSCAPING: concrete planters with selected planting to terraces, including larger tree
CARPARK: Mechanical car stackers
BUILDING SPECIFICATION DETAILS: BUILDING SERVICES
HOT WATER SERVICE: Central Gas fire water heaters. Flow and return distribution loop and hot water meters within each individual apartment.
HEATING / COOLING: All apartments include operable windows to allow natural ventilation. Energy efficient Centralised reverse cycle heating / cooling provided for each individual apartment.
BATHROOM AND LAUNDRY EXHAUST: Ducted exhaust system for both bathroom and laundry with external discharge.
KITCHEN EXHAUST: Ducted system with external discharge.
COOKING FACILITIES: Gas Cooktop and Electric Oven.
SECURITY /ACCESS CONTROL: Access Control and intruder detection system via CCTV and access control systems.
BUILDING INTERCOM: Colour Video and Audio intercom, integrated with access control system.
FIRE PROTECTION: Smoke detection and thermal detector system to all level common areas. Individual smoke detectors to each apartment in accordance with authority requirements.
LIFTS: Secured lifts to all levels.
TELEVISION: Outlets in main bedroom and living space catering for free to air and pay tv.
HIGH SPEED INTERNET: NBN within each individual apartment.
TELLEPHONE/DATA: Outlets in main bedroom and living space.
POWER: Mains, Solar Array System power provided on site.
RAINWATER HARVESTING: Gravity Stormater system for mains roof & podium level. Rainwater Harvesting and treatment for non-potable cold water supply.
BUILDING SPECIFICATION DETAILS:
Floor finishes – Timber Floor
Wall finishes – Timber veneer bookshelves, tinted bronze mirror, clear glass window with black metal powdercoat
Ceiling finishes – Painted plasterboard finish.
Lighting – Feature Pendant light and concealed LED strip lighting to bookshelves joinery.
TYPICAL APARTMENT LOBBY
Floor Finishes - Wool carpet.
Wall Finishes - Painted walls in 2 different colours and bronze tinted mirror
Ceiling Finishes - Painted Plaster ceiling
Lighting – Downlights
TYPICAL APARTMENT FINISHES:
Floor Finishes – Engineered Timber Floor to Kitchen and Living Room, Wool Carpet to Bedroom, Selected Tile to Bathroom and Balconies.
Walls – Painted Plasterboard
Ceilings – Painted Plaster with recessed downlights throughout.
Light Scheme - Tiled walls and floor with feature chevron splashback, integrated basin and metal frame, gloss laminate storage (light scheme) or timber veneer (107 Scheme) and toilet suite and round mirror with black steel edge with storage behind
Fittings and fixtures – European appliances, Chrome (Light scheme) or Matt Black (107 Scheme) or Aged Brass (107 Scheme Optional Upgrade)
Kitchens – Reconstituted stone benchtops and splashbacks with feature angle profile to benchtop edge (107 Scheme). Gloss laminate shelves (Light scheme) or Aged brass metal shelves (107 Scheme) to island bench, gloss laminate (Light scheme) or 2pac finish (107 Scheme) cabinetry, brick tile (light scheme) or bronze mirror (107 Scheme) splashback