Location486 Victoria Street, Richmond VIC 3121, Australia
Text description provided by the architects. Victoria Street Richmond’s latest addition, the Audrey Apartments by Carr Design Group are complete and ready to welcome the first residents.
The striking facade of the multi-residential development draws heavily from its surrounding industrial neighbourhood. The design solution offers an interplay of light and shadows that provides a level of privacy and security from the heavy traffic of Victoria Street.
Operable louvres are incorporated into the facade to enable the user to define the level of opacity for the screen. This visual language is reinforced in the interiors, with the texture of the facade ‘basket’ woven through the entry to create a unified concept for architecture and interiors.
Carr came onto the project with the site’s planning approval in place and preliminary construction already commenced. Carr worked deftly around the existing cost plan, value managing adjustments to ensure constructability was maintained, while ensuring design efficiencies were achieved within living spaces.
After an initial concept presentation, the original scope to redesign the facade was expanded to encompass a considerable redesign of the project. Lead by the pure architecture concept of the facade, the project developed into an elegantly proportioned form, ultimately at ease with its context. The approach established an ongoing relationship with the client.
Audrey sits comfortably in its site, bookended by two heritage redbrick buildings. The considered material palette of grey and black are interplayed to break up the mass of the building, seamlessly creating coherence in the streetscape. The powder coated aluminium facade appears grey from the street, shifting to black as the louvers are adjusted from resident’s balconies which will create a dynamic pattern when the building is occupied as users interact with the screens in different ways.
The louvers give controlled views in graphic and rational ways, articulating a clear linkage to Carr’s previous residential architecture in Frame House and the Marquis apartments. To the south, the views extend over low scale Richmond across to the MCG. From level two the lobbies provide clear views to the city to the West, the glazed stair bringing daylight into the core.
The concept of the basket weave is incorporated throughout the project, white matte and gloss tiles in the bathroom are a subtle play on the external facade. The kitchen joinery is generous, providing internal amenity to enhance a compact floor plan.
The lobby is terrazzo floor with concrete walls leading to an open stair. Retail space at street level is flagged to be a future medical facility. The outcome of the form reflects the industrial nature of the site, gridded by Victoria Street’s tram line.
There was an intention from the onset to expand the structure onto the roof with the addition of two prefab rooftop pods. Although yet to go into planning, Audrey has been engineered to accommodate them.