SG2 Design
'THE WILLIAM'. Melbourne, Australia, 2011-2013.
slide show gallery

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

The existing towers are linked via a skybridge that serves also as a lift core. 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, but had been left neglected and abandoned for the last 20 years. Having previously been a commercial office building proved difficult to retrofit into apartments given the deep floor plates.

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

Apartment layouts vary from studios to two bedrooms and penthouses on the top floors, which include generous terraces with views to the docklands beyond. The development maintains two levels of existing underground carparking; some of the apartment layouts have the flexibility of becoming either home/offices or office spaces as well through the use of sliding wall panels.

The existing concrete panel spandrels were removed and replaced by new alucobond cladding. A feature wall was created on the Lt. Bourke Street corner facade, which consists of triangular alucobond panels of varying tones with pyramid shaped bay windows throughout; this wall has been humorously dubbed the 'cheese grater' and is made-up of prefabricated elements.

The interior finishes use fairly muted tones, with standard light or dark colour scheme finishes in apartments for bathrooms and kitchens joinery. Timber floors in living areas and tiles in bathrooms are the main materials used throughout the development, including the retail areas below.

©2014 Sebastiano Ghezzi

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