Upper House


  • Piccolo
  • Jackson Clements Burrows Architects
  • Hamilton Marino Builders
  • ALA Consulting Engineers
  • Rincovitch Consultants


Upper House is a 17 storey building located on a 552 square metre site at the corner of Swanston and Queensberry Streets in Carlton.

Consisting of 110 apartments, street level commercial tenancies, abundant bicycle parking, rooftop terraces and recreational facilities for residents to share, the building employs carefully considered amenity orientated design principles, acknowledging sustainability that is both social and environmental.

The unique composition of the building mass has resulted in its distinct form, it is a building that demonstrates clarity in urban composition and social program that engages with its context in a new and positive way.

Key Features


Architectural Merit

The Upper House “Podium” is a solid form with projecting white steel loops elevated above street level where a commercial plinth is articulated as a black recess. Within this recess projecting steel looped windows to the commercial tenancies and the entry lobby activate and engage with the street frontage.

A physical break in the building incorporates communal facilities and terraces, this activates the “skyline” enabling the “Cloud” section of the building to appear separated from the mass below. This along with the material contrast between the lower and upper masses implies the idea of a ‘cloud’ floating across the skyline.



Upper House was conceived from social and environmental design principles, ESD solutions are fully integrated into the fabric of the building using passive and active systems including:

Minimal southern solar orientation
6 star energy rating
65 bike parks
Zero car parking
On street car share provision
Communal rooftop terrace
High ceilings
Natural light
Naturally ventilated corridors
Centralized hot water service
Low VOC materials
Low maintenance materials
High thermal mass facade
Double Glazing
Strategically located insulation
LED lighting throughout
Steel balcony shrouds, provide wind and sunlight protection

Upper House demonstrates sustainable and social design principles that positively engage with the community.


Diversity and Affordability

With mounting housing affordability concerns and a growing population being pushed to outer suburbs, Upper House provided an opportunity for affordable city edge living with outstanding lifestyle opportunities and excellent transport links at your doorstep.

A niche in the market presented itself for an inclusive mix of apartment types and sizes that would not be reliant on car parking, this model presented savings at the onset that could be passed on to the eventual purchaser, accelerated the development process and avoided the dominance of a car parking podium on the built form.


Design Innovation

Site potential was maximised through the procurement of the air rights over the footpath to house the projecting steel loop balconies. As well as informing the architecture, prefabricated locally and installed in under 15 minutes, the loops also provide wind and sun protection, and from an amenity perspective, they also provide private individual framed views of the city from what is essentially an outdoor room.
The steel balcony loops also add dynamism and depth to the envelope achieving design continuity through the upper and lower masses of the building.


Urban Design

Upper House was conceived through a series of urban design gestures:

“The Podium” of natural concrete fragmented by a “ravine” elevated above street level to introduce a partly transparent commercial plinth;

\”The Observatory\” separates the building at level 11 incorporates communal spaces overlooking a garden roof-scape and

“The Cloud” of partially transparent and reflective white glass suggests a more ephemeral lightweight gloss surface that is offset against the matt concrete base.

The facades are scattered with balconies and windows that tie them together with an engaging three-dimensional quality, through varying placements and cantilevered depths the facade has its own topography.

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