Whitlam Place is a stone’s throw away from Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street in Melbourne, Australia.
It sits adjacent to a small pocket park and across the road from the iconic Fitzroy Town Hall.
Architects Freadman White took cues from the proportions and height of the classical stone town hall, ensuring that the parapet of the new four-storey building they designed wasn’t taller than the Town Hall’s tower.
The distinctive green and bronze tones of the copper oxide finish applied to the concrete exterior of the building forms a dynamic backdrop to the neighbouring park, with many of the dwellings enjoying views into the silvery treetops.
The penthouse apartment, owned by project developer client Marcello Donati, is “the glass jewel on top of the brutalist base,” with curved glazing wrapping around a private rooftop courtyard facing south to the park.
When the sliding doors are open, this outdoor space expands the already generously sized living area.
Within this open-planned space, zones are defined by the semicircular shape of the courtyard that cuts into the otherwise rectangular plan, where each piece of furniture is nicely held.
This planning is reminiscent of a traditional courtyard house, with a centralized focus point.
Priority is given to these main public areas of the home and the private sleeping and bathing spaces are intentionally modest in size.
A three-level light shaft within the building provides natural light and ventilation to the second bedroom and both bathrooms.
The two-bedroom penthouse has a striking spatial energy, with the coloured oculus skylight giving the impression of a James Turrell artwork as the light changes its shade from aubergine to apricot throughout the day.
Italian design influence and sensibilities are felt in the pink and green terrazzo flooring, playful Scarpa-esque detailing and the character of Marcello’s eclectic furniture.
Collectively, Freadman White love the curiosities of things.
There are moments around the building that you might say, ‘Why would you do that?’
But the studio really enjoy those moments.
An example of this is the way the marble kitchen splashback wraps around the wall toward the bedroom.
Trades have been used for more than one application.
The building’s architecture strongly defines the interior design, which was important to all collaborators on the project.
A feature of both the exterior and interior architecture is the pop-out windows that choreograph a particular experience of the city skyline view.
Externally these brass-framed windows give depth and texture to the facade and internally the circulation is curated toward the deep and angled portal to accentuate the angled perspective.
Each of the eleven apartments has a different personality, suiting the needs of the variety of occupants.
Marcello’s sister, her partner, and young baby live next door in a slightly more restrained and rectilinear two-bedroom apartment.
With the majority of the owner-occupiers being downsizers looking for a lifestyle of convenience, floor plans were modified to suit favourite furniture pieces, including a baby grand piano.
Completion date – 2018
Building levels – 4
- Australian Institute of Architects, National – Multiple Housing Category 2019: Award Winner
- Australian Institute of Architects, Vic Chapter – Multiple Housing Category 2019: Award Winner
- Australian Institute of Architects, Vic Chapter – Interiors Category 2019: Commendation
- Houses Awards, Apartment or Unit Category 2019: Commendation
Led by Ilana Freadman and Michael White, Freadman White embeds a curiosity-driven and experientially charged tension in its architecture. Seeking to reveal beauty in seemingly simple and often overlooked settings, Freadman White strives to create visually intriguing and emotionally resonant spaces.
Visioneer is an award-winning Melbourne-based construction group focused on the delivery of architecturally unique, highly specified single-residences, multi-residential developments, and commercial structures.
Gavin Green is a commercial photographer based in Melbourne who works at the intersection of fashion and architecture.
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Design © 2020 Freadman White. All Rights Reserved.| Images © 2020 Gavin Green. All Rights Reserved.
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