401 St Kilda Road

401 St Kilda Road

Architect
Elenberg Fraser Architecture
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Project Year
2009
Category
Apartments

401 St Kilda Road

Elenberg Fraser Architecture as Architects

It’s the classic empty nester conundrum. Your kids have left home, you’re left roaming the vacant rooms of a four bedroom house in Kew, all the while thinking how nice it would be, now you’ve got all that extra time on your hands, if you could be a bit closer to the action and not have to live in a shoebox. Well, you can! The 15 apartments at 401 St Kilda Road don’t skimp on space – they are contemporary luxury – houses within apartments literally spitting distance from the cafes and restaurants of the CBD, South Yarra and South Melbourne. Situated on the axis of the Shrine, we needed to observe strict height limitations to not obstruct the view. Drawing from the modernist oeuvre such as John Lautner’s Arango House in Acapulco, 401 St Kilda Road is the junction of landscape and architecture. Starting from the bottom, the lower levels are clad in green tiles, reminiscent of Robert Haddon’s decoration found on commercial buildings such as the Napier Hotel in Fitzroy. Moving up, the living is sandwiched in between the splines of the middle level’s façade, which wobble together in a Bezier curve and merge with the planters that tumble down and stretch up from each balcony, forming a canopy of life outside each apartment. The balconies are telescopic, which means the planters receive adequate sunlight and also drip rainfall onto the levels below. The upper levels are a timber cocoon, appearing as a separate building rising behind the lower levels. We don’t do things by halves – at 401 St Kilda Rd you can have your house and garden and live in it too. Don’t give up the connection to the landscape that a house in the suburbs affords – curb urban sprawl and head inward to experience the new paradigm of luxury living.

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