Reinforcing the life and rhythm of the street
Category Large Residential Development | Project La Terrazza, Elgin Street, Carlton | Architects Fender Katsaladis Architects, Melbourne
This site is a former light industrial building set among two-storey mixed use buildings on a major commercial thoroughfare. The blocks in this precinct are densely developed with pockets of private open space and a historic pattern of subdivision that relies on laneway access.
On a relatively large and prominent site, the building needed to balance its capacity to deliver higher density development against both internal and contextual design considerations. A challenge was providing outdoor space and adequate sunlight to the units on a site with wide frontage and significant depth. It was also important to respond to the scale and character of Elgin Street.
La Terrazza maintains a continuously active and transparent ground floor while using a pattern of solids and voids to break up its 40 metre frontage. A combination of thin metal railings and low colourful walls ensure openness to the street at the residential levels. Above the third storey, the building is set back successively to the fifth storey, to reduce its apparent height and allow sunlight to the street. To achieve greater internal amenity, the design preserves the historic perimeter wall and offsets the actual units to create private courtyards and terraces.
Although upper level setbacks alone cannot guarantee an appropriate design response in an urban context, careful and creative consideration of the building's assembly, volume, material, and colour can produce an attractive and harmonious public face.