Text description provided by the architects. For the second year in a row, CHT Architects has been shortlisted from the Victorian Field of Entrants for a multi-residential AIA Award.
This year’s successful residential project is the LOVE Building, located at 85 Leveson Street North Melbourne among Victorian terrace houses, warehouses and low rise contemporary apartments.
The building contributes to the discourse of expressive and innovative apartment buildings in Melbourne and comprises 21 one- and two-bedroom apartments over four storeys.
The building pays homage to different uses of brickwork, from decorative brickwork in local Victorian architecture to more contemporary examples of polychromatic brickwork and the rational use of bricks in neighbouring industrial building. It also takes cues from ‘brick expressionism’ – whereby facades are enlivened through decorative brickwork – and the use of text in architecture: the main facade’s balconies and canopies form the letters ‘L-O-V-E’. The letters ‘L’ and ‘E’ were the first to appear at sketch design phase, after which, the idea of working with text evolved, and the ‘O’ and ‘V’ were added. The artwork of Barbara Kruger, which juxtaposes images and text, was of interest during this phase– in particular, the effect of re-scaling typography.
The abutment of the decorative Leveson Street facade and the plainer Bendigo Street facade holds the corner of the two streets; the latter elevation remains relatively austere, responding to the nature of Bendigo Street as a secondary road.
The development’s innovative use of brickwork, traditionally a residential material, overcomes the challenges involved with designing a medium-rise residential building, in a mixed-use precinct, and incorporating a finer grain of detail, as is associated with residential architecture.
Ordinary house bricks, of varying colours and set in a pattern, maximise the building’s visual appeal. The project is testament to the idea that high-end materials are not always necessary in the creation of well resolved, visually interesting buildings.