The project came about with the development of a large residential block close to the Elwood foreshore and Port Philip Bay. The brief simply requested a spacious apartment product that was cutting edge and contemporary, but subtle both inside and out. The concept of a large apartment resulted in six single level dwellings, each with the proportions of a small house. The apartments are low maintenance, functionally adaptable to appeal to a range of potential residents, and highly sustainable.
Externally, rather than go for a standard “stacked wedding cake” form, the building was set back significantly from the adjoining properties on the lower levels. This allowed the main volume of the building to have vertical sides and reduced footprint creating a larger landscape strip between adjoining buildings. The design strategy was to keep the building facades simple and at a scale which could be understood from a distance but on approach, the building is visually stimulating as the varied texture of the building materials begin to reveal themselves. These can then change again in different times of the sunlight, day and season.
Automated operable louvre screens to either end of the building is used for controlling light and ventilation as well as privacy. They are able to orientate almost 180 degrees, making them completely shut or stacked to the sides for a clear opening, even in high wind conditions. Other than their environmental function, they add to the constant changing aesthetic by adding a living, moving aspect to the façade. The solid white textured concrete balustrades deliver sun control below and privacy between dwellings but allow a clear view beyond. The black stainless chrome clad circular column ties the building together vertically and gives it a touch of bling. As with the other finishes, it works at different visual scales. The column’s reflectivity camouflages its width and size through shape, tone and reflection, but doesn’t disappear completely and looks amazing when standing right next to it.
Everything in this building was considered and detailed to achieve an incredibly simple and completely seamless combination of finish and function. This included not only standard items such as materials, claddings, fixtures, joinery and concealing building services, but integrating all the elements required to achieve a high performing, thermally efficient and sustainable building (average 8 Star NatHERs rating with the highest at 8.6). The building’s efficiency was evident very early on in the construction phase and we’ll be monitoring how it is functioning with the residents both economically and with level of comfort over the next 12-18 months.
We had the opportunity to produce a “Building User Manual” which has been an idea of mine for many years. It’s a manual required as part of the council’s Sustainability Compliance Assessment at the end of construction. Knowing that people don’t read manuals we designed an A4 double sided laminated page which instructs the resident on how to use their home efficiently and sustainably. It is very generic to all dwellings, has very little text and was based on aircraft safety cards in planes, so anyone can understand what they are looking at and all in 2-3 mins of reading it. This also resulted in the Building User Instructional Video which can be accessed from the QR code on the card the building can have the highest rating in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it properly this becomes irrelevant.
Internally, there are some really clever functional layout arrangements that increase the floor plan efficiency, giving back as much liveable area as possible. The spaces are warm and finishes robust but comfortable. A “flex room” was incorporated to provide a multi-functional space that could suit the occupant’s personal needs. The glazed walls with double doors and internal drapes allow for it to be open and absorbed into the open living spaces or closed and private, with the option for multi-purpose use such as a second living, a bedroom, a yoga retreat or an office etc.
Sustainability was a really important aspect of the project for us and we wanted to show that a really good piece of unique architecture can be highly sustainable. To the credit of our clients, they fully supported our vison and it was embraced pretty unilaterally across the team involved.
We’re really proud of the outcome and think that it’s a building that integrates itself, and visually enhances the space it occupies.
Material Used :
1. Brightonlite off-white cement Reckli 2/169 Columbia concrete formliner
2. Concrete façade with Uni-Dry Cote Uni-Rock Grey finish
3. Concrete façade with Uni-Dry Cote Uni-Rock Deep Grey finish
4. Vitrapanel exterior Metallic black
5. Nero Lucido Stainless Steel
6. Lysaght Spandek with Colorbond Surf Mist finish
7. James Hardie Axon Cladding
8. Austral Masonry GB Aspect Porcelain
9. PowdercoatedAluminium Black & white
1. Fibonacci Stone Terrazzo honed Idol
2. Spotted Gum natural timber boards
Window Frames: Thermeco thermally broken double glazed window system
Door Hardware: Pittella
1. Articolo Architectural Lumi Wall Sconce
2. Zero Lighting Fog Pendant Large
Sanitaryware, fixtures & joinery
1. Broadware, Reece, New Form Concreting, Hafele, Blum, Studio Bagno
1. Big Ass Fans Haiku I Series Fan: 52
1. Porter's Fresco "Pavimento" Feature Paint
2. Elton Group
3. Eveneer Prefinished Antique Oak
1. Royal Oak Floors Architect Range – Smoked and Limed
2. Signorino Terrazzo Tile Motecarlo
3. Prestige Carpets Classic Styled Level Loop Oakford Square “Eldon”
1. SignorinoDuma - Honed Lime Stone
2. CDK - Calacatta Marble, Twilight Marble, Lord White Limestone
3. Apex - Stone Mont Blanc Granite
Kitchen Appliances & Fixtures
Barazza, Qasair, Fisher Paykel, Beefeater, Asko, Miele, Vintec