Is architecture life? That is the question. Our new building Clara, for R.Corporation, may be the answer – the new masterplanned estate in South Yarra has breathed life into an old Council refuse site, creating a secret resort-like complex with a new park in the middle of the well-established suburb. Featuring town-houses by Jackson Clement Burrows and landscapes by Tract, central to this new development is the Elenberg Fraser designed apartment building, which draws inspiration from the environment it is situated in. Clara’s form and detailing speak not only of the origins of architecture, but a celebration of living in nature – who doesn’t want to be Bo Derek in Tarzan afterall? You’ll find this lush inner-city oasis just north of the South Yarra train station, and we have addressed this proximity by using an isolated slab for the first four levels as well as vibration dampening. Most apartments are not impacted by the train station as they face east, north and west. Clara appears to dissolve into the park that surrounds it; we clad the first four levels in black laser-cut panels featuring an abstracted sunflower pattern that calls to mind the vegetal detailing and symbolism of the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian order. This contemporary version of the ancient decoration makes the floral eruption part of the surface itself. The upper levels of Clara are an architectural language of economy. Slipping in and out, a mere 500mm deep profiling of slab edge creates the balconies’ honeycomb effect, which, like a bee-hive, becomes the society of the building. This inhabitation is given another dimension by the twisting chrome screens that work their way up the height of the building, offering privacy to these outdoor spaces while mimicking the dappled shade that nature creates. Clara celebrates life from a natural and architectural perspective – from the visceral and sensory origins of architecture to the exquisite precision of nature’s details, geometric and mathematical. Get back to nature, from the comfort of your own home.