The Next Chapter: Collection XI

Following on from The Bowery in Richmond and Elland Avenue in Box Hill, comes the latest release from The Chapter Group: Collection XI, a series of eleven luxury townhouses located on a 2,500sqm site in Mowbray Street, Hawthorn East.

The Chapter Group has developed a reputation for their cohesion of expertise across key property development disciplines, from architecture to finance, with their work founded on core principles of design excellence, outstanding quality and liveability.

The Bowery and Elland Avenue. Images courtesy The Chapter Group.

The Chapter Group was founded by directors Dean Lefkos who worked previously at Goldman Sachs and David Lee Principal of architecture firm K2LD, their relationship began initially in the manner of client and architect on Dean's own private home before a mutual appreciation for quality and design and a desire to implement their collective knowledge and expertise to property development: providing their purchasers with a quality product that reflects value for money.

David Lee says he modeled Collection XI on a tight "European street", inspired by his trips to Assisi in Italy: narrow, tactile street networks full of character and heritage typical of European cities. Off this 'street' sit the entrances to each townhouse with residents also able to catch their own dedicated lift directly from the basement garage to their living room thus creating a secluded enclave of eight private homes behind the three townhouses along the street frontage.

"People want a private lifestyle and we identified a gap in the market for this type of product" says David. The front three townhouses are 170-180sqm in size with the rear eight townhouses 250sqm with quality fixtures, fittings and appliances by the likes of Dada, Roger Sellers, Molteni&C, Hub and Gaggenau, "combining the best elements of modern living".

Interior of Collection XI townhouse. Image courtesy The Chapter Group.

The project was lodged just before the changes in residential zones came into effect meaning that The Chapter Group were to have tried obtain a planning permit after their implementation they would now be limited to a maximum of four dwellings under the current requirements. As such Dean and David believe that it's highly unlikely that another opportunity to develop or buy such houses would present itself.

Working with Jack Merlo who was engaged for the landscape design aspect of the project in addition to the arbour, The Chapter Group have conceived a pedestrianised network the result of moving cars to the basement garage and folding the ground plain to provide a ground level that is sole domain of the pedestrian/resident, creating a journey and experience of walking through a network of streets.

European-styled street network. Image courtesy The Chapter Group.

A point of contention according to David and Dean was the pitched gabled roofs of the three front townhouses and what council considered to be a "chalet aesthetic" out of character with the surrounding houses within the neighbourhood. It could be argued that employing gabled roofs results in a diverse streetscape of varied roof forms distinguishing the development as a high quality, well articulated architectural intervention within the street. Additionally the roof forms can also be understood as an inflection and juxtaposition to the butterfly roofs of the rear eight townhouses creating a dialogue between the two sets of dwellings.

Together the contrasting roofs act to break down the massing and forms of the dwellings a very deliberate strategy. The inclusion of butterfly roofs is somewhat of a rarity in Australian developments with a strong disposition away from them due to their tendency to leak. This has been addressed within Collection XI by employing a far more robust more closely aligned to the thick concrete butterfly roofs that David Lee worked on in Singapore.

In terms of materiality the townhouses employ a combination of off-form ribbed profile concrete walls and smooth concrete surfaces complimented by warm timbers employed both in vertical and horizontal applications creating a contrasting composition of elements and a departure away from the typical townhouse typology associated with the suburbs.

Collection XI rear dwellings, thirteen in total. Image courtesy The Chapter Group.

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.