Walan is a 14-storey new residential tower designed for the 21st century sub-tropical city. Whole floor homes are stacked vertically to create a sculptural form that commands a prominent place in Brisbane’s riverscape. Stepped floors and bespoke screens echo the fractured forms and colours of the nearby Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
Walan challenges the usual development pattern, proposing a new housing model for a progressive subtropical city. Whole-floor apartments enable each residence to access balconies on three sides, forging stronger connections to the outdoors, encouraging passive cooling and ventilation and maximising sunlight and view opportunities. These relationships to climate and context ultimately provide a level of amenity that rivals those found in a detached dwelling
Walan demonstrates the important contribution of good design in shaping both the quality of housing and the visual appeal of Brisbane’s skyline. The architecture seeks an expression that engenders a sense of belonging to its place. It draws inspiration from the characterful, Kangaroo Point Cliffs — in particular their form and colour — and creates from their abstraction the characteristic shapely, ochre-coloured facade. Walan finds the opportunities of a sub-tropical climate to leverage natural light and ventilation opportunities so residents can live in harmony with the environment and minimise a reliance on artificial cooling, heating and lighting
Walan’s impact is twofold — it both elevates the quality of Brisbane housing and enchances the visual appeal of Brisbane’s skyline. The design provides a refreshing alternative to mundane visual references associated with residential towers. How? By deploying a colourful veil of screen elements that reference the nearby Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Louvred screens are employed to frame views, shade rooms and draw breeze in a similar way that verandas traditionally screen and protect the Queenslander. Stepping floor plates, faceted concrete balustrades and sliding screens embed a sense of dynamism in the architecture, enlivened by ever changing shadows and light play.
In addition to the main build, the complete refurbishment of the culturally significant Heritage House on the site has been undertaken. Designed by one of the first emerging female architects in Queensland Elina Mottram, the original apartment building as well as some of the original fauna is retained in common ownership and houses facilities for all of the building occupiers to use. The new building respectfully steps back at its lower levels to ensure there is still a clear connection between the original house and its adjacent streetscape.