First-of-its-kind design that will stand the test of time

October 16, 2018

Forget everything you thought you knew about apartment design – this Melbourne property developer is doing things differently.

A multi-functional communal room in prime position, lending library, kids’ sandpit, edible herb garden, a dog washing spot and a workshop where residents can do all those messy jobs they don’t want to do in their own apartment.

The latest project from Assemble at 393 Macaulay Road, Kensington aims to bridge the gap between renting and owning your own home, and to build apartments that get better with age.

As part of the Assemble Model, residents get the rights to a five-year lease with known rents set at market value. When they sign the lease they also sign for the right – but not the obligation – to purchase the property for a pre-agreed price when the lease ends. But after the first 12 months, residents can move on if their circumstances change.

“Apartment living is shifting from being an investment product to homes for owner-occupiers, therefore there is now more focus on quality of life and how to live a full life in an apartment,” says Quino Holland, Design Director of Assemble.

393 Macaulay Road is cleverly designed to build connection and community among residents and centres on the belief that well-designed vertical living offers possibilities for people from all walks of life – from families and young professionals with furry friends to the elderly, bike-lovers and green-thumbed enthusiasts alike.

Artist’s impression of a bathroom at 393 Macaulay Rd, Kensington.

The eight-storey building will include 73 apartments and has a firm focus on design innovation and sustainability. As part of the discovery process, Assemble is surveying potential residents to find out what elements are important to them in the development.

As a result, multi-purpose communal spaces that are adaptable and flexible have become integral to the project, such as the lobby and communal room, which can be adapted to suit residents’ needs. The Assemble Model also provides community benefits, such as bulk buying services to help residents keep down the cost of living and further promote housing affordability.

“Squeezing people together into an apartment building doesn’t create a community,” says Holland.

“The big differentiating factor in an Assemble building as opposed to a typical building is what we do in the spaces between the apartments.”

Artist’s impression of open-air, communal walkways that will bring cross-flow ventilation and a dual aspect.

Instead of apartments leading off a standard enclosed corridor, the upper building is split in half to create an open external walkway. As well as a point of connection, this gives apartments north and south-facing windows for cross-ventilation.

“Apartments are connected to the central walkway via a small bridge, which acts almost like a front verandah, a transition space between the communal and the private. Each apartment also features a private external terrace,” says Holland.

The 52 car parking spaces will be allocated according to need. Residents who want a car spot will pay a nominal weekly fee, with parking revenue eventually lowering body corporate costs. If car parking demand drops, spaces can be repurposed in the future to provide extra workshop or storage space, or a cinema, explains Holland.

Artist’s impression of a kitchen space at 393 Macaulay Road, Kensington.

Individual apartments have been designed to provide a subtle backdrop that allows residents to make each space their own. As with the overall building, apartments have been designed not to date and incorporate durability, functionality and flexibility.

DEKTON® benchtop and splashbacks, Fisher & Paykel appliances, engineered timber flooring, exposed concrete ceilings and even provision for a dog door to the balcony are included in the apartment design.

Sustainability also featured as a high priority for potential residents, so the project will house a 30-kilowatt solar system, a 25,000 litre rainwater tank and a 7-star NABERS rating.

Artist’s impression looking at the north-west building corner along Macaulay Road and Abermarle Street.

The Kensington development retains the red-brick heritage façade of the existing building designed by Harry A. Norris – the architect behind the iconic Nicholas Building and Mitchell House.

The upper storeys feature sturdy white ribbed concrete, galvanised steel and glass. The building will “improve with age”, says Holland.

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This article was originally published on as First-of-its-kind design that will stand the test of time