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Ivanhoe's latest apartment proposal provides a grand public gesture

John Demos Architects have conceived a new apartment building with the expectation that the project be an appropriate design gesture for a key Ivanhoe infill site.

Vacant for many years, 40 Upper Heidelberg Road was in the past subject to a smaller apartment development that failed to materialise. The current project team led by developer SB&G Group have sought a reinvigorated and much larger apartment project for the triangular gateway site which leads into Ivanhoe's premier retail strip.

Under new plans, the majority of the project's ground level will become a publicly accessible piazza activated by a cafe and commercial space, with the latter holding a health, wellbeing and arts focus.

Ostensibly an undercroft, the design feature is unusual in its sizeable generosity toward the public realm. 40 Upper Heidelberg Road's ground plane intends to provide the Ivanhoe retail strip with a design showpiece, while also injecting green space into the area.

40 Upper Heidelberg Road application summary

Upper Heidelberg Road perspective. Planning image: John Demos Architects
  • Vacant triangular site: 2,443.7sqm
  • Proposed 8-10 level building
  • 111 apartments: 5 x 1BR, 96 x 2BR, 10 x 3BR
  • Average 3BR internal size above 130sqm
  • 270sqm cafe and 450sqm commercial space
  • Ground floor public domain of 1,180sqm
  • Five level basement: 232 vehicles and 150 bicycles
  • Estimated cost of development: $42 million

The landscape Concept Design for 40 Upper Heidelberg Road is considered the key to unlocking the potential of this significant gateway site, allowing it to make a significant contribution to the vibrancy, functioning and success of Ivanhoe.

The Landscape Concept Design envisages outdoor seating/dining opportunities along the edges of the public spaces with the main event/gathering/communal seating spaces located towards the centre of the site. This creates an opportunity for a weekend market concept, ‘pop-up’ and cultural events, using the plaza space, the catenary ‘ceiling’ and building program to facilitate programmed events and community engagement.

Circulation has been carefully considered through the selection of paving materials and positioning of physical elements. The design creates permeability from the street and other major spaces within the site, but ensures spaces are defined and have a distinct character to allow wayfinding and pedestrian comfort.

Capturing the life and vibrancy of a new urban village and plaza in an intimate human scale, the landscape is bound by retail and building entries. Creating a network of fine grain that establishes the base for a contemporary urban development through planting, urban elements, paving and furniture.

Landscape concept design, Oculus

While Oculus is responsible for the design of the landscaped piazza, the building also distinguishes itself through the use of irregular materials.

The design's Upper Heidelberg Road frontage is split into two distinct 'modules'. The northern facade is finished with an angular brass mesh veil which allows for both daylight access and privacy. The southern aspect is wrapped by a glass laminated brass mesh facade, articulated with white banding.

Street level aspect. Planning image: John Demos Architects

Accustomed to hotel ownership and funds management, 40 Upper Heidelberg Road represents SB&G Group's first listing within the Urban Melbourne Project Database. Conversely, John Demos Architects continues to grow its presence within the database, reeling off a number of interesting and highly articulate residential designs of late.

Essendon's heavily faceted 193 Buckley Street is a design recently realised, while two further John Demos Architects projects of high design merit are unfolding in Footscray.

Side by side, the golden-clad Hugo has just commenced construction while the adjoining 209 Ballarat Road also brings with it a heightened degree of design credibility.

Recent John Demos Architects projects. Image: Edge Architectural
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