Text description provided by the architects. C.F.Row at 237 Napier Street sits within the rich urban fabric of Melbourne's oldest inner city suburb of Fitzroy, a bricolage of building types and scale, a collective body of dwellings marked by the patina of time. The site was the home of a premier furniture maker in the postwar years, which visitors and residents can see in the exterior, which uses the original brick façade of the former building.
A new row of low-scale collaged brick and concrete town houses form a rhythmic ensemble to northern boundary along the Exhibition graffiti laneway, formulating a conversation between the existing low-scale Victorian row-houses to the north. The central east-west laneway besides the townhouses allows the architecture to grow gradually towards the higher density dwellings to the south.
Expanding upwards towards a lightweight aluminium piano nobile veiled by a filigree of metallic louvres and ending the crown with an exclusive collection of metal cladded penthouses framed by a garden terrace. The neighbouring street fabric permeates through the site as a series of laneways, formulating to the internal site circulation, mediating between the scale of form within the site and connecting back to its community.
A combination of 52 dwelling types including one, two and three bedroom apartments and townhouses encourages a diverse mix of occupants, reflecting the inherent nature of Fitzroy. Spaces are controlled by the occupants. Large sashless windows to the piano nobile enable the comfortable inhabitation of space to the upper levels. The planning of each of the units allows for natural light to all bedrooms and living spaces. Balconies become an extension of the interiors, fusing experiences of the vibrant exterior world of Fitzroy.