With an anchoring presence on Cotham Road in Kew, Victoria TATE is a building unique in its conscious effort to simultaneously counterbalance and assimilate with the heritage slanted vernacular of its locale. Contrary to some of its parallel 1980’s versions, this cream brick multi-residential building, is designed for endurance.
Imprinted in the design approach to this multi-residential building in such a sensitive context is an innate consciousness of the distinct architectural vernacular in its suburb. With the authorities having a strict attitude towards contemporary development styles it was critical that the design fit both the client desire to create a sleek and detail-oriented building while providing a counterbalance to the heritage neighbourhood character.
TATE is intended to meet the market of families or couples who aspire to live in the locale, but not the large land plots and those downsizing or actively seeking a lock and leave lifestyle.
The approach was to craft architecture that is truly timeless. This building doesn't comply with trends in the way it combines materials and form, demonstrated by the facade and its stylised mansard roof, and the selection of cream bricks and copper cladding, these natural textures age gracefully and even provide an individuality at each townhouse. Tate is a singular building that functions as a series of houses.
Four zones have been designed, comprising carparking below and central living spaces on ground floor, 'kids level' and adults 'retreat level'. This strategy allows sense of spaciousness that not all townhouses can provide.
When the client purchased the land, our proposal could have accommodated 8, 9 or 10 townhouses, but the client chose 8 to ensure quality of space and lifestyle to the market. The purchaser uptake and public response to the building has been exciting and the building has cemented its presence on Cotham road, which can be at times a busy thoroughfare. The resistance of inner suburbs to embracing a higher density of living are slowly subsiding. This project demonstrates that quality of life can be maintained through excellent design, so with more opportunities, we believe that the resistance will disappear.
The TATE building is intended to fulfill a market of families or couples who aspire to live in the locale, but the large land plots fall outside their budget or those downsizing/actively seeking a 'lock and leave' lifestyle. The solution to dividing the site was to deliver more generous areas for each house. The site has been dissected into eight, two sections have a Cotham Road frontage and are oriented North to south direction and remaining six townhouses are oriented east to west, either two or three level dwellings. The building then steps down to follow the fall of the site from front to the rear. The over-all 2m step down articulation and height reduction addresses the sensitive interface at the rear boundary.
While programmatically the building, is zoned by the four levels including the basement, it was important that each house had its own entry, to feel special and individual. The natural copper cladding treatment on the front doors and surround contributes to the experience of arrival, over time this will patina to create unique finishes to each entry. The full selection of natural and quality materials has been important throughout, highlighting both endurance and health for inhabitants.