Conscious of the wide tree-lined street, the nearby Yarra River and the impressive views over Studley Park, the meeting of the tree canopies, forming an arch, became an important element of the design. The fluid, yet monumental, concrete columns of the South Lawn Underground Car Park at the University of Melbourne, designed by Mortlock, Loder and Bayly were also crucial to the inspiration of the design.
Arched windows formed by the conjunctions of the curved columned façade not only create generous vistas but also give Rondure House a strong sculptural quality. Unlike most developments, the entrance encourages residents to enjoy the landscaped gardens designed by Eckersley Garden Architecture (EGA), linking the built and natural forms as one.
Collaborating with leading London-based designer Tom Dixon, for furniture and lighting, compliments the interiors. The studio’s signature can be seen at Rondure House, with his distinctive wingback armchairs and brass pendant lights, greeting residents upon arrival.
The Opal Lounge is a unique addition to the project, providing residents a community environment. Individual office/studios adjacent to this lounge, that can also be used for storage, daubed ‘The Vaults’, allow natural light to permeate through reeded glass walls.
The external material palette, predominantly concrete and glass are complimented with interior finishes that are subtle, including stone, expressed concrete ceilings and reeded-glass walls. This reduced palette not only creates a level of sophistication but also magnifies the lush garden, creating an unparalleled experience throughout.
The existing site of total 1,710sqm contains two double storey dwellings. Both vehicle crossovers exist off Fenwick Street. Demolish existing dwellings and clear landscaping (except for retained trees) on site.
Site envelope is realised with the development of a new three-storey multi-residential building above ground and a single level basement beneath.
The site is subject to a height restriction of 10 metres above natural ground level. The building mass is carved to respond to the slope of the site.
Setbacks to the northern, eastern and southern boundaries create private open space for the units. This setback also protects the site and neighbouring properties from overlooking increasing internal amenity.
The mass is split into three levels across the site’s slope and is restricted to this at any cross section of the site. The top floor is setback to allow a recessive upper level which is articulated differently from the lower building mass. These upper setbacks reduce overall visual bulk.
The mass of the building is modulated at the sides to avoid a dominant and continuous building alignment. This articulation introduces a façade break-up that is appropriate to the fine-grain surrounding context.
Final articulation is realised in brutalist materiality of concrete, brick, and steel, while hyperbolic colonnades adorn the facade, referencing University of Melbourne’s South Lawn Carpark.
A dual core design was employed to avoid any south-facing residences, and endow all fourteen apartments with dual aspects.