ARCHITECTURE WITH SOUL

By Amelia BarnesĀ 

A new wave of property developments is breathing new life into past architectural periods, combining elements of 20th- century architecture with contemporary amenities.

Instead of the sleek, ultra- modern design of most contemporary house projects, these developments draw on iconic architectural eras relevant to their surrounding area.

One project in particular that demonstrates this intention is The Emerson Edition by Azure Developments in Brisbane’s east. This project encompasses 15 individual homes, each showcasing a distinct mid-century modern aesthetic inspired by the location.

“The design of The Emerson Edition draws on the classic style of a mid-century minimalist house lining a golf course in Palm Springs”, says Azure Development group director Trent Keirnan. “With The Emerson Edition sitting on the seventh fairway of Brisbane’s newest 18- hole golf course, we thought it was appropriate to pay homage to this style of architecture.”

The name of the development is a nod to Emerson Stewart Williams, a prolific Palm- Springs based architect who shaped the area’s world- famous design identity.

Encompassed in The Emerson Edition are elements for which his project were renowned, such as natural stone on the facade, clean white lines, a flat roof and private plunge pools.

In Melbourne, art deco architecture from the 1920s and ’30s forms the basis of the new Opera building on St Kilda Road designed by Bates Smart and developed by Golden Age Group. The 1930s art deco- inspired design references the glamorous history of St Kilda Road, which was developed as a European- style boulevard of grand mansions for the wealthy.

Openings in Opera’s exuberantly curved east elevation are expressed as cuts in the fabric of the facade to give a sense of movement akin to the swish of a flowing gown.

Richly textured materials including marble, bronze and velvet and curving furniture forms continue this narrative indoors.

The forms of the Opera tower peels back to create a harmonious relationship with the adjacent Airlie Mansion, a notable residence previously home to Stanley Bruce, who was prime minister from 1923 – 29.

“We wanted to reflect the flamboyance, scale and style of this property in the position and composition of our building and create an urban landmark that resonates with its context in terms of form, colour and personality,”says Bates Smart director Kristen Whittle. “What is interesting about the way buildings were built in the past is how they were constructed and articulated, which gave them a lot of texture and weight.

“We are inspired by that level of craftsmanship and detail and we endeavour to bring that into all our projects to avoid anonymity.”

Drawing on a site’s history is a staple of Golden Age Group projects. An example of this is its current Sydney Development The Harrington Collection, which is set to feature terracotta rooftops and sandstone walls in keeping with its iconic Rocks location and the heritage buildings to remain on site.

Another notable Melbourne project paying homage to an architectural style is 122 Roseneath Street, which references brutalist architecture – a polarising design period of the 1950s – 70s characterised by fortress- like, robust buildings typically made from exposed concrete.

The Clifton Hill development includes part of an existing brutalist office building that has informed the new project’s materiality.