661 Chapel Street

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  • 2019

  • Architectural
    Commercial and Residential

Designed By:

  • Bird de la Coeur Architects

Commissioned By:

Gamuda Land

Builder: Crema Constructions

Designed In:

Australia

Putting community first. All residents enjoy their apartment plus the extra accommodation usually associated with a large home, including a library, large dining rooms, cinema, wine room, gym, sauna and pool. These shared spaces are located and designed to promote sustainable apartment living by focusing on building a connected community.


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  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • ‘Home +’ concept - achieved. Commitment to the social life of the residents - achieved. Uninterrupted river and city views with excellent light – achieved. Build a community of owner occupiers and families in apartments - achieved. Offer flexibility for families living in apartments and empty nesters, including older singles - achieved. Durable sustainable materials that reduce maintenance - achieved with the selection of stone, concrete and glass. Future-proofing the building by allowing for future combining of apartments and repurposing of carparking levels achieved with the structural system chosen and car lifts meaning no ramps or split levels.

  • 661 Chapel St, in the heart of South Yarra, is a 30-level apartment building with a two-storey penthouse with panoramic views and roof garden. It received Government Architect design review endorsement. All apartments have uninterrupted river and city views, air and light. Two floors of shared facilities demonstrate the commitment to the best of ‘village style’ liveability, setting 661 Chapel apart. An innovative planning move is the separation of the lift and front door, making communal spaces - like the library and newspaper table part of the everyday journey home. These purposeful ‘third places’, are essential to creating permanent, connected communities.

  • The location is extremely well serviced with shops, transport, bike paths, schools at the doorstep. Community is taken to a new level, employing a distinctly domestic aesthetic that says ‘home’ not ‘hotel’ or ‘resort’. A lot of living takes place outside the apartments in two floors of communal spaces, reducing social isolation. Careful observation of the triggers of incidental conversations led to the design of a ‘shared kitchen table' for coffee and newspapers; a place for watching the tennis or cricket; as well as three communal dining rooms, a wine room a cinema and a proper gym and 25m pool.

  • During the masterplanning phase, part of the site was strategically carved off, creating an L-shaped site with optimised orientation, river and city views, light and air for all apartments. This has resulted in very few apartments per level, all with better amenity, enhancing the liveability of all apartments. With flexibility in apartment combinations, the building is designed to sustain a community of permanent residents and families. The siting affords the historic Melbourne High School buildings an uninterrupted hill top silhouette, determined in consultation with the School. References to the site’s former use as a brick kiln with a tall slender chimney are subtly explored in the tower design and the interiors - with the dramatic two-storey stretcher bond onyx window wall in the library. A warm domestic experience (not a hotel) is created by the chosen material palette that enhances the onyx glow with soft timber tones, delicate furniture and lighting choices, and artworks selected in collaboration with an art consultant, including commissioning a Matthew Harding sculpture for the entry. The foyer’s design language continues through the communal levels, the (very short) single-loaded corridors and the signage design providing residents with an integrated experience. Landscaped roof terraces provide alternative community experiences.