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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.

When:
Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November 2015, 2pm – 4pm
What:
Ask the Architect
Where:
Trilby Display Suite 410 Smith Street, Collingwood

8 comments

Bilby's picture

Despite all the talk about retaining industrial heritage on this site, blah, blah, blah ... all heritage buildings on the site have now been completely demolished.

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

Where's your heritage "identity" now, Ariel?

Let me guess, the developer plans to "rebuild" the facades? That, for the record, has nothing to do with heritage.

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Bilby's picture

All gone now:

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Melbourne_Fragments's picture

Their original plan was also complete demolition until council said no, so don't beleive a cent of that speil.

I wonder if they plan on reconstructing the facade?

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

The original design was by Interlandi Mantesso Architects and was redesigned by Inhabit Design. As explained in the article:

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.

Since the heritage facade was not heritage listed they could have demolished it at any time. They redesigned the building to keep the facade even when they didn't have to and I am sure it will be rebuilt.

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Bilby's picture

Who cares? A rebuilt facade is a mock-heritage building. If I had bought into this shambles on the basis of retained heritage facades on Smith Street, I would be backing out right about now.

We don't need any more "heritage reconstruction" on Smith Street after the Banco fiasco and their pathetic attempt at rebuilding William Pitt's Foy & Gibson building.

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George D's picture

Facades are dumb. Demolish and let's create new heritage.

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Bilby's picture

You can't just "... create new heritage" by advocating for a policy that allows places of significance to be knocked down. It's not "heritage" then, is it? That would be like an aged parent pointing to the family silver and saying, "This is your inheritance, George - but I'm selling it next week. Don't worry, though, you can make your own new inheritance after I'm gone".

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johnproctor's picture

Agree Bilby its pretty terrible outcome. Not looking forward to the flat pack reconstruction job they do here similar to those at Banco site.

Great job redesigning from the original crap design to the one proposed. But then throw it all away demolishing the whole site. Agree that if I'd bought an apartment I'd be investigating options

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