Whitlam Place is the brainchild of Melbourne based architecture design studio Freadman White in collaboration with Anon Studio aka, Marcello Donati (Stay tuned for a tour of Marcello’s own penthouse apartment in Whitlam Place tomorrow!)
In an environment where ‘trend-driven’ multi-residential buildings are popping up quickly and re-shaping Melbourne’s suburbs and skylines, Ilana Freadman and Michael White of Freadman White were eager to pursue a design strategy that was informed by its local context. This boutique development of 11 apartments sit opposite the Fitzroy Town Hall and offer a modern interpretation of civic-minded architecture, inspired by both European urbanity (e.g. Aldo Rossi and Giorgio Grassi) and seminal Melbourne design (see local legends Robin Boyd and Roy Grounds). This might all sound like a hectic mash-up, but Whitlam Place seamlessly connects historical references with a hefty dose of Fitzroy local vibes. In archi-terms, think somewhere between ‘International Style’ and ‘Melbourne post-modernism’!
The exterior of Whitlam Place makes an immediate impact from street level, as the solid form of the building hovers over a generously light-filled entrance level. The architects describe this dynamic as ‘balancing material weight against structural lightness, presence against permeability.’ With it’s distinctive surface treatment, the oxidised copper and fluted exterior detailing of the building reference the civic strength of the neighbouring Fitzroy Town Hall.
The apartments of Whitlam Place are designed to ‘amplify their site’s natural attributes’ the architects describe, as full-height sliding glass panels create direct connections between each home and the leafy Fitzroy surrounds. The design blends artisanal practices and attention to detail, and combines ‘textures of warm timber and stone with ceramics and steel, brass and copper.’
While the architects reflect on the ‘sobering realities of town planning, objectors, and latent conditions of the construction phase’, these bureaucratic hurdles were unable to quash any of the ambition of this incredible project. Whitlam Place brings together historical archetypes, contemporary design, artisanal practices, and a sense of playfulness (hello those neons in the entry!) resulting in a truly bespoke, brilliantly bold, and unapologetically creative building. More of this please, Melbourne!
Pop back for a tour of the Marcello Donati’s penthouse apartment in Whitlam Place tomorrow!