UDIA Awards for Excellence Medium Density 2015 Winner
North One is a contemporary and striking building, designed in response to the existing architecture of its site in Subiaco, near Kings Park, Perth. With 88 apartments above ground floor retail and commercial spaces the project strikes a balance: the local, traditional material palette of face brick and rendered surfaces is assembled into more modern forms. The result is a place that belongs in its surrounds, yet retains its own strong identity.
The building is read as two distinct elements:
- an orthogonal block on the southern side where random red brick panels and dark metal balustrades connect the building to the ground, and;
- an array of angular cantilevers to the north, lined with white render which lift the building up to the sky.
These forms take their cues both from the pattern of Subiaco’s streets and open spaces, and the sweeping curve of Salvado Road. They intertwine, with the brick exposed at recessed vertical slots within the sharp white blocks to the north, continuing to ground level and denoting entrances to the commercial suites. Rhythmical brick blades and low plinths running along the boundary delineate an active forecourt connected to the street.
The forms of the building are carefully configured to visually contain the public spaces and their landscaping located at either end of the block. Elements of the façade within these forms are composed to balance solidity and openness. The strong, angular forms with a mix of glass and rendered balustrades becomes both the identity of the building whilst also framing the outlook from each apartment and managing sun and breezes.
The randomised brick on the continuous southern balconies forms a colonnade at ground level, providing pedestrians with an all-weather link between key spaces around the site and to the entrance of each of the three residential lobbies. A simple horizontal awning, framed by reverse steel angles, appears to float in and out of the colonnade, denoting these entry points as the façade steps down to follow the fall of the site.
Within the building exterior the lobbies rise to overlook twin landscaped courtyards which also provide natural cross-ventilation and solar access to apartments. On the rooftop a sunny communal space overlooks the easternmost landscaped public square with views towards the sites neighbouring landmarks; a historic church and Subiaco oval.
This building’s bold form and graphic contrasts responds to the intense bright light and dramatic blue skies of Western Australia. Whilst designed to be in keeping with its location it stands apart from its surrounds as a striking and distinctly contemporary piece of architecture.
SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT