While most dismissed the disused wheat silos in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Richmond as an industrial remnant-sized headache in the making, our client recognised an opportunity to realise a spectacular residential enclave.
Conceived at a time when conventional wisdom militated against high-rise multi residential typologies in the suburbs, the building is notable both for seamlessly inserting seven-storey apartment living into the heritageprotected, and predominantly single-storey residential fabric of the neighbourhood, and for its prow-like northern face.
Born out of contextual adversity, this effective design innovation maximises light penetration, vistas and outdoor balcony space for occupants, without impinging on the pre-existing view corridors of adjacent properties. A concept we have applied with similar effectiveness, to other similarly challenging sites.
The visceral aesthetics of the overall form emanate from the symbiotic authenticity of its constituents. Rather than deny or divert the industrial honesty of the original structure, we sought to amplify it, augmenting the quartet of concrete-reinforced cylinders with an expanded yet still primitive material palette of off-form concrete, corten steel, glass and galvanised steel at ground level. Then culminating the structure with a corten crown of thorns coda.
The building’s accommodation comprises one apartment on each of the first six levels, plus a twostorey penthouse. All four silos are incorporated into each apartment interior: three are re-purposed as bedrooms, with furniture typically floated in the circular space; the fourth is utilised in two ways, housing a bathroom for each apartment, as well as the building’s core.