- Architects EAT
E589 is a 10 storey 55 unit residential apartment building in the City of Melbourne. Within the developer, estate agent and market driven apartment design typology, this project addresses the challenge of providing liveability, urban dialogue and architectural aesthetic, within an otherwise average development with small individual apartment footprints.
This project implements what we call a “Useful Façade” to enhance occupant comfort and experience, as well as providing the city with two façades in a morphology of pattern. The result is a dynamic building that can literally become a uniform minimal cube, or open completely, with virtually unlimited permutations in-between.
The façade\’s motorized screens serve as light-modulating privacy screens at the outer edge of each residence’s balcony, which are adjacent to the living spaces. Quite often apartment building design has ignored environmental factors such as eastern and western sunshading, and privacy screening especially in high urban areas. In E589, we have taken this idea and translated it onto each of the tall, street-facing façades, with individual rotation of the adjustable louvres to the east, and vertical rotational screens to the west. This provides greater occupancy comfort, allowing the living space to be extended beyond the small internal apartment footprints.
Building itself is typically inert, but with architectural ‘movement’ occurring due to indeterminate programmatic encounters. The building is transformed over time by the events of occupation and participation, which create both literal movement in terms of occupancy and activity, but also movement in terms of the perception of the architecture. In this project this is deliberately exploited to place the architecture in a constant state of occupational flux. Therefore once the building is fully occupied, the façade will never look the same again, and hence provide an ever-changing dialogue with the urban domain.
It goes without saying that the multi-residential design typology faces a number of outward pressures as it negotiates the task of providing a satisfactory yield for the developer and siting restrictions, as well as inward pressures of ultimately realising a positive architectural outcome. In this regard, the challenges encountered in E589 have been no different. The project cleverly sidesteps the issues raised by the deep and narrow site with two bright kaleidoscopic light wells, which also act as a pair of lungs for the building, allowing for improved access to natural light and cross ventilation for all apartments.
Inspired by the State Government of Victoria initiative, White Night, the balconies of E589 are equipped with user controlled LED lighting. During normal operation, these LED lights provide general illumination for the balconies during the evening. In events such as White Night, occupants would be able to join forces to create a colourful and dynamic façade, providing a constant flux similar to the screening. This simple move encourages occupants to unite and, in a sense, actively contribute, not only to the context of their own built environment, but also to wider cultural context of the city.