51 Spring Street
Opposite extensive parkland on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD, this former office block was well located, but, like other well located commercial buildings in the vicinity, contributed little to the life of the city. Converted into apartments and activated at ground level through the incorporation of retail, the building assisted in the subsequent regeneration of its precinct.
Through the addition of six new levels, and re-imagining of the façade, the finished design transforms a once boring and repetitive edifice into a proudly modernist piece with a strong, tripartite form. A building that now sits with dignity in a streetscape renowned for its exemplars of Victorian architecture.
The building’s original frontage incorporated fluted, pre-cast concrete columns. By cladding these tired, aesthetically compromised elements in stainless steel, we created a sculpturally exuberant compositional rigour – one that ultimately segues into a frame encapsulating the exultant explosion of new architecture atop the old.
Copper-infused concrete spandrels add further interest and ornamentation to the façade. Practical and playful in equal measure, they extend balcony space for the lower apartments, while nodding to the ‘evergreenery’ of the public gardens opposite with their stylised tree shape arrangement.
A similar functionality is achieved by the urban scale bay window element, which extends the bounded apartments over the street and opens up surprising lateral view corridors.