From a purely aesthetic perspective, Melbourne's suburbs have received a wave of project completions of late that achieve more than a pass mark in terms of design nous.
Over the last quarter, Urban Melbourne has tracked in excess of 40 separate projects that have reached completion, with the vast majority residential in nature and given little to no coverage upon completion. Far from the precast, cookie cutter design flops that are symptomatic of early builds in suburbs such as Preston, Footscray and Doncaster, the current rash of completions bring a heightened level of design flair.
Editorialising for a moment, aesthetically better design should of course be the norm as opposed to the exception, or at least one would hope. Thankfully a healthy number of recently completed projects do indeed distinguish themselves in the design stakes.
Dotted around metropolitan Melbourne, the cream of the crop of recent completions can be seen below, beginning with a trio in Melbourne's North West.
Opened during late July, the mixed-use Brimbank Community and Civic Centre shapes as the most daring build Melbourne has received of late. The clash of colours and atypical shapes are trademark Lyons Architects features, particularly among their civic projects.
Project Group recently completed works on Leake Apartments, with the Essendon build featuring two floors clad in gold banding. Designed by BBP Architects, the final result provides the immediate area with a focal point, as does North Melbourne's Assembly apartments. A low-rise design by Woods Bagot, Assembly results in 138 dwellings across four separate buildings which are clad predominantly in metal.
Hawthorn East's Burwood Road has a contemporary design high point by way of Solstice Apartments. Its 106 apartments are arranged around a central courtyard with privacy over the higher levels consisting of a tight configuration of vertical batons, resulting in a screening that looks attractive from street level. Not far behind in the design stakes is Orbit Architecture's Radius Box Hill which is clad in a variety of finishes, including screening with circular motifs.
In neighbouring Doncaster, Panorama Doncaster Hill is over the line. The Peddle Thorp Architects design was built by LU Simon and its sheer size allows for its exterior to carry a differing design language to all elevations. From angular honeycomb-like balconies to sweeping bends, Panorama Doncaster Hill is an altogether crisp outcome.
The South Eastern suburbs witnessed a disproportionately large number of completions, headlined by BPM's The Standard on Bay Road, Brighton. The Elenberg Fraser design carries vertical white 'ribbed' elements to all elevations, providing a uniform and clean outcome.
Jackson Clements Burrows' Elsternwick Place also looks sharp, albeit with a very different architectural language; simulated brickwork contrast by white mesh screens and an angular roof provide the project with a unique appearance. Beck Property's Stage 1 of Caulfield Heath is also complete with Probuild having delivered the initial buildings that were designed by SJB Architects.
Prahran bobs up with two residential projects; one definitely a step away from the norm. Zac Apartments is a smart design by Ascui & Co Architects on behalf of developer Peregrine Projects and features 36 apartments.
Presenting an all red exterior, Vox Prahran at 59 Porter Street is the creation of Kavellaris Urban Deisgn. Built by Merkon, the seemingly uniform facade can be adjusted, with the retractable louvres revealing balconies behind. Definitely something out of the box in terms of appearance.
Aged care also welcomed two new completions by way of Regis Aged Acre's Malvern build and the Emmy Monash Aged Care/Gandel House complex on Hawthorn Road. According to architect Bates Smart's website, Emmy Monash involves 97 rooms with a variety of amenities and internal landscaped courtyards.
Icon Co delivered Emmy Monash with a construction value of $43 million.
Not to be forgotten and staying close to Melbourne's CBD is the National Tennis Centre's Administration and Media Building. As the only commercial completion of late, the Hassell Studio-designed complex houses permanent admin offices above lower levels dedicated to media use. At peak use during the Australian Open, 600 media personnel can be accommodated over the building's lower levels.
Finally one of the longest running builds has drawn to a close with Eastland's makeover complete. Designed by The Buchan Group, builder Probuild has seen the final eastern expansion works over the line, bringing a new dynamic to large-scale retail design in the process.
Readers may recall an article by Urban Melbourne earlier in the year highlighting the project's highly impressive urban realm works that are soon to be added to with the addition of a new multi-level hotel within the precinct.
See below further images of the above projects.