Ask the Architect: Ariel Lopez talks Trilby

This coming Saturday Inhabit Design's Ariel Lopez, the lead architect on Spec Property's Trilby development in Collingwood is offering the general public the opportunity to 'Ask the Architect', affording prospective purchasers and members of the community alike a platform to interrogate the development's design and apartment living and ask all the pressing and vexing questions about the development.

Trilby hero shot. Image courtesy of Spec Property.

Trilby, located at 466-482 Smith Street, is a new apartment offering in Collingwood, which seeks to find the balance between old and new Collingwood, through the retention of its distinctive redbrick façade.

In his approach to the site, Ariel Lopez was very aware of the manufacturing and industrial heritage of Collingwood, which is currently undergoing rapid gentrification.

The industrial brick façade of the building informed the identity of the development. I’m really interested in creating a visual language respectful to the street and the individual experiences of those living in the building.

Ariel Lopez, Architect, Inhabit Design

Making the most of long summer nights, the experience of living at Trilby will be heightened even further on the rooftop with a veritable playground of amenity which will include an outdoor cinema, fully equipped kitchen, library, bar, table tennis table and Teppanyaki grill providing sweeping views to the city skyline and over Clifton Hill.

Aerial view towards the city. Image courtesy of Spec Property.

Urban Melbourne met with Ariel over coffee to hear about his design philosophy and approach to working on Trilby. Ariel noted that the site came with an existing application which council had concerns about the bulk of the building and how it would present to the street.

Receiving guidance from Rob McGauran who prepared an urban design report, the design team immediately set about trying to address the problem of creating a street wall effect which was achieved via reduction of the mass.

The mass was broken down via a 3 tier solution which also included maintaining the existing red brick facade despite it not being heritage listed. Above this, a 'tower' element setback from the podium presents as a strong vertical expression due to the indentations in the building form, articulated with rusted steel panels and timber soffits which create a perception of warmth from both apartment and street.

The development and design team felt that they had covered all of council's major concerns as the development headed to VCAT for consideration. VCAT supported the height believing that there was no negative impact to the street.

Ariel considers the site a unique and curious one. While it isn't a corner site in the true sense of the word it does provide the perception of a corner site due to the relative scale and nature of the neighbouring corner pub, "The Trilby site is the beginning of the precinct, defining the gateway to the southern portion of Smith Street", says Ariel.

The development seeks to respond to the site's industrial context, with the new facade designed to complement and draw on the qualities of the existing red brick facade. As with other developments in the area the site is covered by an inundation overlay which means the ground floor must be raised 1.5m above street level.

In designing a space for a commercial tenancy for the ground floor, Ariel says they have created a buffer zone within the retail space to allow retailers a street presence while addressing the flood level issue, stressing that the ground floor experience was the main focus for the team.

Trilby has also been designed to respond to two different conditions: Smith Street and the laneway to the rear of the site, with each condition requiring a different approach. To Smith Street the provision of loft apartments within the podium activating the street and providing passive surveillance, while the laneway has apartments above the 1.5m flood level, in addition to the car park entry.

Moving to the building's rooftop, working in conjunction with Tract on the landscape design, the design team were able to create an informal playground which doubles as cinema seating through manipulation of the roof plane. The communal rooftop areas have been designed to engage the building's community and create a neighbourhood within.

Rooftop cinema. Image courtesy of Spec Property.

Trilby offers a diversity of typologies catering for various segments of the market such as the loft apartments which comprise 1 bed + study and 2 bed + study and as a means of maximising space and offering flexibility island benches have been designed with the capacity to double as dining tables.

While the apartments are generally larger and care has gone into the design of the communal areas, the most engaging moments happen on the street, "the amenity is the street. The public realm is where people engage," says Ariel. "I'm a firm believer in contextualism: responding to context in a contemporary manner and also designing for people."

To take the opportunity to meet Ariel Lopez, listen to his reflections on site and his inspiration for Trilby’s design approach, see the event details below.

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November 2015, 2pm – 4pm
Ask the Architect
Trilby Display Suite 410 Smith Street, Collingwood
My Real Estate Mate logo

Development & Planning

Friday, October 21, 2016 - 00:00
Following its acquisition of Waterfront City late in 2014, current owners Ashe Morgan have moved to further reinvent and reposition the precinct, which includes Harbour Town and the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel as major drawcards. The first stage of overhaul works which were concentrated on Harbour Town are concluding. These...

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 14:30
On Monday 24th of October, the iCities: World Class CBDs series conference kicks off. First held in Kuala Lumpur, this year's conference is to be held at the Langham Hotel on Southbank. iCities is owned and operated by iProperty Group, a network property under the REA Group umbrella brand. Over...


Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 17:00
Melbourne’s architectural landscape is a wonderful juxtaposition of modern and Victorian architecture. Although the CBD has been peppered with many skyscrapers, its historical structures have won Melbourne the title of “Australia’s most European city”. Perhaps the most striking example of this juxtaposition between old and new is the Coops Shot...

Transport & Design

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 07:00
108 Leicester Street is a collection of eight multi-level Fitzroy townhouses that have been designed to respond to the changing face of multi-residential living in Melbourne. The hybrid inner-city dwellings combine developer/builder FOURSQ with Melbourne firm BKK Architects. The design acknowledges the housing typologies of the development's Fitzroy neighbourhood with...

Sustainability & Environment

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 00:00
The proposed new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) on Sturt Street is shaping to become much more than a cutting edge venue. While the project has been given coverage to date across a range of mediums, very little has been said regarding the project playing an integral part in the...