With its planning application currently being assessed by council this proposed development comprises of 15 apartment style townhouses. Sitting on the fringe of the Ivanhoe Plaza shopping precinct, it forms part of the Darebin Station precinct. With a 13m preferred height limit, initial yield studies suggested that either an apartment building or a townhouse development were possible. Ultimately, we have arrived at a hybrid of the two- a vertical apartment. Oddly, the property has a registered covenant requiring any buildings to have a roof of slate or tiles, which was a precursor to the design response.
By employing a basement to park the cars underground we have avoided the endless row of garage doors that a typical row of townhouses creates. Once in the basement (unlike in a typical apartment building) each townhouse has its own secure garage and stair access directly into their townhouse.
Above ground the building itself has been conceived to read as a single building, and the external aesthetic has been sculpted to have the appearance and texture of a large house more so than an apartment building. In plan, the building has been extruded along the length of the site. The centre of the building has also been ‘opened up’ to create internal courtyards and solar access into the southern units. These units are further offset in plan to prevent internal overlooking between homes.
Another key design aspect borrowed from apartments has been to locate many of the outdoor living areas on the roof. This has created larger and more useable terraces with distant views and enhanced solar access. Planters have been employed to restrict overlooking onto adjacent properties and the terraces have been provided with shaded areas to allow use in mid-summer.
The building as a whole is created to have a distinctly domestic feel, both in the scale of the architectural elements and the texture of the materials utilised; being the face brick walls, timber cladding, planters and metal picket fencing. With its sections of transparency, solid and texture, typically flat walls are transformed to provide movement and visual interest down the length of the building. The pitched “skillion” style roof is reminiscent of the mid-century modern style so evident in this area. The building itself is richly dynamic in a modern vernacular whilst responsive to the surrounding history of the area and context.