Elwood House

A New Apartment Typology for Melbourne

While modern in its design, Elwood House is still very much part of its historic neighborhood. The four-story development reflects the local grain and scale of its Melbourne precinct while simultaneously evolving this particular site into a more refined solution for the area. Drawing on the character of the architectural vernacular, the new multifamily complex transforms the typically low-scale residential language of the area.

In collaboration with Piccolo Developments, the entire construction contains 30 apartments, ranging in size from one to three bedrooms. Each unit is unique, designed as individual houses targeted at local tenants looking to downsize to a more compact residence.

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This approach represents a fundamental shift in apartment typology planning, with each dwelling providing a specialized solution as opposed to the streamlined uniformity typical in unit development. The results provide an elevated living experience for the owners with consideration for both privacy and community.

Client

Piccolo Developments

Status

Built

Location

Melbourne, Australia

Completion Date

August 2017

Size

1,400 square meters

Awards

2018 City of Port Phillip Design and Development Award—Multi-Unit and Mixed Use Development

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Australian Institute of Architects, Victorian Architecture Awards: Commendation for Residential Architecture—Multiple Housing

 

Crafted predominantly of concrete and brick, and with ample greenery, Elwood House refines its local esthetic through simple details.

Aligning with the suburb’s low-scale residential vernacular, the project acts more like an aggregate of homes than of apartments.

 

Openings in the façade allow light and natural ventilation to penetrate into the floor plan and also express the separation between units.

The lobby receives natural light through the brick-lined atrium; its reflecting pool is overlooked by internal balconies above.

 

Small insets to the entry corridor and a shift of material from plasterboard to stacked brick signal the entry to each apartment.

The use of rough concrete extends across the walls and soffits of the balconies, as well as reaching into the communal spaces and living areas.

Generous outdoor gardens and balconies have been included for all units to extend the possibilities of outdoor living.

The raw materials carried into the interiors lends warmth to the individual homes.

Interiors incorporate a series of independent joinery elements clad in grey stone, bronze or light timber veneer.