Napier Street for Milieu

  • 2020

  • Architectural
    Architectual Design

Designed By:

  • Freadman White

Commissioned By:

Milieu Property

Designed In:


Napier Street for Milieu is a collection of 14 individual owner-occupied apartments; accommodating a variety of family types and living arrangements within a diversity of dwelling typologies and common areas; this project engenders a sense of community and social diversity.

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Image: Gavin Green
Image: Gavin Green
Image: Gavin Green
Image: Gavin Green
Image: Gavin Green
Image: Gavin Green
Image: Gavin Green
Image: Gavin Green
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  • Too often there is a lack of dwelling diversity and lack of socio-economic mix within multiple-residential complexes. Through appropriate design response, dwelling diversity and enriched residential common spaces can engender a sense of community and social diversity. Furthermore, in contrast to the concept of ‘timelessness’, the current state of multiple-residential development is defined by a universal sameness; characterised by trend-driven style in both formal expression and spatial planning. There was shared purpose by client and architect to design and build flexible homes that comfortably accommodate a variety of family types and living arrangements that endure.

  • Napier Street pursues an earlier notion of timelessness by drawing on the strengths unique to classic modernism. Underwritten by a desire to discover new ways of living and new forms of construction, developed by blending artisanal practice with craft and attention to detail. An unfolding sense of arrival takes cues from early modernist living, with each apartment enjoying dual-aspect cross flow ventilation through a series of open air pathways. Refined material details are employed to enhance the experience, marking a journey through lush external greenery and a calming flow from front gate to front door and beyond.

  • Napier Street engenders a sense of community and social diversity; achieved through dwelling diversity and enriched common area spaces. There are five typical dwelling typologies in total; two one-bedroom apartments benefit from dual-key access that allows ‘work-live’ flexibility. Four two-bedroom apartments with a primary outlook to Napier Street and secondary outlook to the internal landscaped courtyard. Six double-storey two-bedroom dual-aspect apartments, and two three-bedroom dual-aspect apartments customised to their respective owners. Exposed concrete provides good thermal mass. Dual aspect for all apartments affords natural air cross-ventilation, natural light, underground rainwater harvesting, solar panels and bicycle parking to reduce energy consumption.

  • Robust materiality, unmistakably Australian and chosen for its organic beauty, offers understated character that encourages tranquil repose. Expressed through a sequence of zones, the palette invites retreat from the vibrant activity of outside city life. The solidity of a chalky brick facade is punctuated with light-filled glazed transparency; sliding open they are flanked by irregular screening of perforated brickwork, breaking up the exterior, greenery designed to cascade over time, inviting the outside in. Brass, a recurring accent used to invoke a sense of occasion, enlivens the front gate, mailboxes and private mail collection area. The front door of each apartment combines glass, timber battens and brass numbering, evoking a repeated sense of grandeur for the entrant and setting the tone for the narrative within. Finer grained details benefit the project both aesthetically, functionally and within commercial constraints. Example of this include the use of the same fifty cent concrete brick laid in a myriad of ways in both smooth factory finish and rough-sawn honed; working directly with the bricklayer, the honed brick finish was created by rough sawing fifty percent of the bricks, exposing the coppery-brown aggregate within.