When you live in an apartment, the surrounding city becomes an extension of your home. The nearby parks act as your backyard. The local coffee shop is your reading room. In South Yarra, a bustling neighborhood in Melbourne, Australia, the design-build-development firm Neometro erected the Ten Darling apartments with community in mind. The building, a Corbusier-inspired brutalist creation, situates residents within walking distance of the Toorak Road and Chapel Street restaurant and fashion strips—as well as several parks and the city's Royal Botanic Gardens—and is a stone's throw away from the railway and tram lines.
"A stone's throw" might be an exaggeration. The building backs right onto the railroads, which was an initial concern for Neometro design director Jeff Provan. But the solution to the potential obstacle to luring residents—orienting the building to the north—became a way to maximize day lighting.
The building has a "six-star" energy efficiency rating (used in Australia for measuring efficient energy use in heating, cooling, water, and other systems) and scores high for its thermal and acoustic insulation. On the exterior, Provan chose a palette of off-form concrete, sand-blasted precast cement panels, and natural grey cement. "All these finishes have soft natural patinas that age and mature well," Provan says. "They wear in rather than wear out."
The concrete and cement panels continue inside the building, which houses ten apartments ranging in size from 540 square feet to 1,600 square feet. Provan also pulled in bright splashes of color to "bring a bit of fun and joy to the space." Completed in 2008, the Ten Darling apartment building creates a cozy oasis with the worldly city of Melbourne right at its doorstep.
Click the "Slideshow" button at the top right-hand corner of this post to view photos of Ten Darling.
Photos courtesy of Neometro