Urban SpacesThe Weekly Review, Liz Mclachlan - Published February 2016
Brunswick’s raw energy and design edge are the product of its youthful, educated demographic and transition from industrial inner-city to hip residential neighbourhood.
At 808-818 Sydney Road newly released seven-level development of 89 apartments matches Brunswick’s mood and movement with design invitation and difference.
It is five kilometres north of the city – an easy 20 minute cycle – with a plethora of cafés, bars, parks and entertainment on the doorstep. The project is Pace Development Group’s first northern venture following design-driven, sell-out success in St Kilda, South Yarra and Windsor.
The building’s three-level podium blends into Sydney Road’s architectural rhythm with a canopied retail frontage and gritty dark brick across the first two residential level. Bifolding timber-style shutters shade these west-facing apartments and provide a buffer to Sydney Road. Finished in blond brick with timber accents, the street-level façade is divided into seven sections with three retail spaces either side of the entrance and lobby.
Above the podium three levels are set back then topped by the recessed seventh level, all screened in fine lightly coloured metal to keep outdoor spaces private and maintain residents’ outlooks, which from the top level includes panoramic city skyline views. Three ravines set deep into the exterior will draw further light and ventilation into apartments.
Influential architecture and interior design practice Carr Design Group has designed the interiors. The floor plans offer a choice of one, two and three-bedroom layouts with interiors from 43 to 108 square meters and outdoor spaces from seven to 133 square meters.
Open-plan living areas open to balconies or elevated courtyards to optimise light and ventilation. All bedrooms can accommodate a queen-size bed and, where possible, there’s access to the bathroom via the bedroom and living area. Sliding doors in some one-bedroom apartments maximise space flow and flexibility.
All apartments have NBN access and some include a built-in workspace with device charging. Solar panels boost lighting and hot-water systems and roof tanks gather rainwater for toilet flushing. Secure parking levels are entered via De Carle Lane along the building’s rear and there’s individual storage on each apartment level.
Reverse-cycle air conditioning, roller blinds and intercom are all included, with an integrated fridge/freezer and fly screens available as upgrades.
Carr Design Group’s kitchens have up-to-the minute matt finishes and styling. The benchtops and splashbacks are in Caesarstone’s new matt-textured concrete in grey Raw Concrete or off-white Snow. Cupboards and shelving are a mix of chalky off-white and green-grey with a choice of light and dark schemes. The gas cooktop and underbench oven are from Smeg’s Linear range. Appliances include a dish drawer or integrated dishwasher and rangehood. Some two-bedroom layouts and the three-bedroom apartments have island benches.
The bathrooms are tiled in large-format white tiles with natural grey porcelain tiles underfoot and feature dark grouting. The showers have the overheads and hand-held shower heads, an inset tile for water run-off and a semi-frameless glass-screen. The mirrored above-vanity wall cabinet has a clever innovation in a mirrored drop down panel that opens to provide a handy working shelf and storage for frequently used items such make-up and shavers. The vanity is topped with Caesarstone’s matt-concrete finish to match the kitchen benchtops.
The large outdoor spaces range from seven to 133 square meters with most 14 square meters or above. Some balconies wrap around two sides of apartments; one apartment has a balcony at either end. A series of six one-bedroom apartments on level one have substantial north facing courtyards of 25 square meters – more than half of their internal area of 48 square meters. Also on the first level are three two-bedroom apartments each with a 52-square–metre elevated courtyard, close to their internal areas of 65 square meters.
THE SELLING POINT
Some remarkably large and interesting outdoor entertainment areas; top-level city-skyline views; edgy, contemporary design inside and out.
Hip, younger neighbourhood five kilometres north of the city with trams and a plethora of groovy cafes, bars and shops on the doorstep and trains, bike paths close by. A 15-minute bike ride to the University of Melbourne.