The Triplex Apartments

The Triplex Apartments

Bellevue Hill, Sydney, Australia
© Edward Birch

The Triplex Apartments

Luigi Rosselli Architects as Architects

Stepped Residences on a Steep Hill Occasionally, Council planning restrictions can produce design constraints that are welcome; in this case, limits to residential apartment building heights forces all units built on sloping sites such as the block The Triplex Apartments occupies to step and follow the contours of the land. Terraced apartments are not a new building type; the style began with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and was later taken up by the first Modernists such as Richard Neutra in Los Angeles, Robert Mallet-Stevens in Paris, and in Sydney with the Wyldefel Gardens at Potts Point.

These recently completed stepped apartments are endowed with large terraces and private gardens ideal for those who wish to downsize from a suburban house. These terraces are constructed with robust concrete edge beams to provide substantial awning structures. The concrete is left exposed and horizontally fluted to provide a robust texture.

Often, residential flats are designed with a rubber stamp; a repetition of plans, details and materials; the fruits of lazy architects or developers and their ovine psychology.However, terraced apartments need individual layouts to suit the topography and the different arrival points of the vertical lift circulation. Further, these three apartments have been personalised with different finishes and interior design by Romaine Alwill.

From the street, the appearance of the apartment block is of a single storey residence to maintain the existing residential pattern of the street and to soften the impact of the recent rezoning of the area for residential flats. This strategy helped to achieve supportive Council approval of the development.

The slightly concave, embracingeffect of the front elevation is a design principle Luigi Rosselli learned from his mentor, RomaldoGiurgola, who insisted that one should provide open armed buildings that welcome you at their entry point. The forecourt of Parliament House in Canberra, with its two outstretched ramps to each side, is perhaps the most high profile example of Giurgola’s philosophy. This openness and inclusiveness is one of the components of humanist architecture.

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