- Bird de la Coeur Architects
- Rare City Acre
On a land-locked acre in Fitzroy, hidden behind Nicholson street sits Roi Apartments. With a sense of surprise the 172 apartments are \’discovered\’ at the end of Bik lane sited around a generous north-facing courtyard. The provision of shared public space is a key element in the spatial configuration. In its neighbourhood of small timber workers cottages and remnant industrial buildings, its generous and light-filled foyer and courtyard provides an element of surprise.
The development creates new linkages through the site and to its neighbourhood. These spaces are the ‘democratic’ spaces – generous and uplifting, and shared by occupants of the entry-level one-bedroom apartments as well as the larger apartments. More important to us than the provision of facilities with on-going costs like a pool or a gym, is the proper orientation of the building around a north-facing courtyard with the foyer becoming the extension of that arrangement. A shared rooftop BBQ terrace looks down onto the courtyard space.
The apartments are identifiable individual units – articulated as a series of staggered boxes around the courtyard, creating privacy and roof terraces. The perimeter units, which have views to the mountains and city beyond, use particular panel configurations to identify individual apartments. Many perimeter apartments make use of the remnant red brick warehouse walls. The materials are often raw, making them long life and low maintenance: off-form structural V shaped columns provide a muscular expression and the stone external paving runs inside.
Sustainable development initiatives include rainwater storage of 100,000 litres for toilet flushing, solar panels for boosted gas hot water and sustainable and low embodied energy raw material choices have been employed to minimising mains water usage and reduce energy. However the passive devices such as orientating the building around a north-facing courtyard to provide maximum solar access is we believe the most important design device. Windows to corridors are used wherever possible, and opening windows are provided to the lift lobbies.
Bike storage is generous given pride of place in the basement as well as spaces for visitors in the courtyard. The water tanks, which sit within the courtyard, are expressed and integrated into the landscape design as a strong graphic element. Circulation occurs around these tanks.
A painting prize for local Fitzroy painters is held annual by the Myer Foundation to select the foyer painting, and support the local art community.