Take a look inside Napier Street residental project in Fitzroy
Napier Street is a collection of 14 individual owner-occupied apartments designed by Freadman White.
“The project’s height takes its cues from the proportions and height of Whitlam Place Apartments and Fitzroy Town Hall to the south; ensuring that the four-storey high street wall does not compete with the height of Whitlam Place’ and the Town Hall’s parapets. Existing materials common to the area include brick, concrete, render and timber. Our reinterpretation of this materiality and historic urban fabric has not been a literal prosaic response, rather drawing on a collective memory of forms and materials, layered through subtle shifts of formal play, articulated with soft planting, timber, steel, brick and concrete. An unfolding sense of arrival takes cues from early modernist living, with each apartment enjoying dual-aspect cross flow ventilation through a series of open air pathways. Refined material details are employed to enhance the experience, marking a journey through lush external greenery and a calming flow from front gate to front door and beyond. Brass, a recurring accent used to invoke a sense of occasion, enlivens the front gate, mailboxes and private mail collection area. The front door of each apartment combines glass, timber battens and brass numbering, evoking a repeated sense of grandeur for the entrant and setting the tone for the narrative within. Finer grained details benefit the project both aesthetically, functionally and within commercial constraints. Example of this include the use of the same fifty cent concrete brick laid in a myriad of ways in both smooth factory finish and rough-sawn honed; working directly with the bricklayer, the honed brick finish was created by rough sawing fifty percent of the bricks, exposing the coppery-brown aggregate within. These two finishes of the same brick are then laid three ways; standard stretcher bond, hit & miss flemish bond and dimpled flemish bond. There was shared purpose by client and architect to design and build flexible homes that comfortably accommodate a variety of family types and living arrangements within a diversity of dwelling types and common areas that engender a sense of community and social diversity. There are five typical dwelling typologies in total; two one-bed ground floor apartments benefit from dual-key access and an internal planning that allows ‘work-live’ flexibility. Four two-bed apartments with a primary outlook to Napier Street and secondary outlook to the internal landscaped courtyard. Six double-storey two-bed apartments, and two three-bedroom apartments, both with internal planning customised to their respective owners. Thermal comfort has been considered for these flexible dwellings; exposed concrete slabs allowing for higher ceiling proportions provide thermal mass. Dual aspect planning for all apartments, and thermal chimney effect via the main vertical circulation spine of the double-storey apartments, affords natural air cross-ventilation, and natural light to reduce the reliance on artificial lighting. Additionally, the project includes underground rainwater harvesting, solar panels and bicycle parking,” explains Michael White of Freadman White