The William Apartments. Melbourne, Australia, 2011-2013

I was part of the project team while working at Bruce Henderson Architects, for the conversion of two existing 24-storey commercial office towers, into 560 apartments with a retail podium and rooftop swimming pool in the CBD.

The towers were a prime example in the 1960’s as being one of the first totally reinforced concrete high-rise buildings in the city, which had been left neglected and abandoned for several years. The existing towers are linked via a skybridge that serves also as a lift core; having previously been a commercial office building proved challenging to retro-fit the deep floorplates into apartments.

The regularity and rigid mass of the existing towers was broken down by striating the facades into vertical components, which incorporated winter-gardens on the prominent corners. The William Street elevation displays a vertical strip of winter-gardens at a the main intersection, which are peeled back from the top to overhang the street below, creating a striking and unique facade. Full-height glazing softens the former brutal facades and allows for natural light to flow within.

The existing spandrels were replaced by new cladding and a feature wall was created on the Lt. Bourke Street facade, which consists of triangular panels of varying tones with pyramid-shaped bay windows throughout; this wall was dubbed the “cheese grater” and allows fresh air and light into the spaces within.