661 Chapel Street


  • Architect&Interiors: Bird de la Coeur Architects
  • Town Planner: Meinhardt
  • Engineers: Webber Design
  • Client: Gamuda Land
  • Builder: Crema Constructions


Community is taken to a new level. Two whole floors of shared facilities demonstrate a commitment to the best of ‘village style’ liveability, setting 661 Chapel apart. All residents enjoy their apartment plus the extra accommodation usually associated with a large home including a library, 3 communal dining areas, a shared newspapers and coffee room, a board room, a place to watch sport together, a cinema, wine room, gym, sauna and pool.

These shared spaces are strategically located and designed to promote sustainable apartment living by focusing on building a connected community of permanent residents and families. Putting community first.

Key Features


661 Chapel Street South Yarra, is a 30-level apartment building with 2 roof gardens. All apartments have uninterrupted river and city views, but the architecture doesn’t rely on the view. Liveability is enhanced by providing a small floorplate with very few apartments per level, creating small neighbourhoods.

Flexibility in apartment combinations means the building suits singles and families. High quality, low maintenance materials have been employed throughout with specific reference to Global Green Tag certification. This is a holistic design commission.

The quality design language established in the foyer is integrated seamlessly throughout, including into the corridors and lifts.


Single loaded corridors for cross ventilation.

Water tanks for rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing and garden irrigation, solar panels, double glazing, opening windows in all rooms.

Substation for buying power in bulk.

42 bike spaces.

Car lifts mean the car parking levels are flat, without ramps or split levels meaning these floors could be repurposed in the future.

An artwork package with MARS Gallery for the shared spaces exclusively includes indigenous and local artists work and commissioning Matthew Harding to design a sculpture for the entry.

Reduce waste – Penthouse sold as a shell, experience shows that buyers remove the fit-out in part or fully.


During the masterplanning and community consultation phase, the site was subdivided to provide Melbourne High a new Boarding House site.

The resulting L-shaped site has optimised orientation, views and fewer apartments per level. Importantly, historic Melbourne High School’s uninterrupted hill-top silhouette is protected, determined in close consultation with the School.

661 tower’s form references historical images of the site showing a brick kiln and slender chimney tower. Large-scale brick patterning on the podium and dramatic onyx window wall are a graphic reminder of the site’s storey. The building’s section reveals a 4 -storey glazed entry reminiscent of the kiln form.


The building has a highly resolved and innovative plan that re-thinks the lift and stair planning. In a multi storey building, all organisation follows this influential design decision.

The innovative separation of the lift and front door, makes communal spaces – like the library and newspaper table part of the everyday journey home. It also makes the grandest spaces accessible to all everyday. These purposeful ‘third places’, are essential to creating permanent, connected communities.

The location of the lifts also make the corridors on the apartment levels desirably short.

Carpark levels are designed without ramps for future transformation or refitting.


A full and integrated design: master-planning, architecture, interior design, furniture selection, decorative lighting, and signage design.

Living outside one’s apartments is encouraged with two floors of communal spaces, reducing social isolation. Careful observation of the triggers of incidental conversations led to a ‘shared kitchen table’ for coffee and newspapers; and a place for watching the tennis or cricket.

Landscaped roof terraces provide alternative community experiences.

A warm domestic experience (not a hotel) is created by the chosen material palette that enhances the onyx glow with soft timber tones, delicate furniture and lighting choices.

Naturally light and ventilation to single-loaded corridors

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