C.F. Row at 237 Napier Street sits within the rich urban fabric of Melbourne’s oldest inner-city suburb of Fitzroy, a collective body of dwellings marked by the patina of time. The site was the home of a premier furniture maker in the postwar years, which visitors and residents can see in the exterior, and now uses the original brick façade of the former building.
A new row of low-scale collaged brick and concrete townhouses form a rhythmic ensemble along the northern boundary along the Exhibition graffiti laneway, formulating a conversation between the existing low-scale Victorian rowhouses. The central east-west laneway running beside the townhouses allows the architecture to grow gradually towards the higher density dwellings to the south that extend upwards with a lightweight, aluminum piano nobile veiled by a filigree of metallic louvres. The multifamily complex is capped by series of an exclusive collection of metal cladding penthouses framed by a garden terrace. The neighboring street fabric permeates through the site as a series of laneways and mediates between the site’s scale and its community.
A combination of 52 dwelling types including one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and townhouses encourages a diverse mix of occupants, reflecting the inherent nature of Fitzroy. Spaces are controlled by the occupants with large sashless windows along the piano nobile that enable the tenants in the upper levels to manage the amount of daylight that comes in. Each apartment is married by a balcony, which infuses in an indoor, outdoor relationship and exposes its occupants to the vibrant world of Fitzroy.