The Saturday Age – Apartment Guide
29th March, 2014
Communal facilities encourage residents to meet people, have fun, get fit and entertain friends and family.
Living in a high-rise Melbourne apartment is not about going home, closing the door and cutting yourself off from those around you. Home is a place to meet people, have fun, get fit and entertain friends and family.
Communal facilities offered in apartment buildings are becoming bigger, better and more diverse and even modest developments offer a pool, gym and casual areas for residents to meet or socialise with friends.
Ilk in South Yarra, a Little Projects development of 389 apartments designed by Cox Architects, sets something of a benchmark in communal facilities. On level three is the 25-metre pool, gymnasium, sun deck and the spa and steam room. On level nine is a luxurious kitchen, dining room, lounge, teppanyaki grill, outdoor dining area and cinema.
Level nine is a mix of common areas available at all times and event areas that can be booked for residents’ functions.
The entertainment area is stunning with Melbourne’s landmarks spread out below. Residents can host a private dinner for up to 14 guests, or a cocktail party formany more in the kitchen, dining and lounge area. The white marble kitchen is fully equipped, the lounge is luxurious and comfortable with a gas fireplace and guests can take advantage of the outdoor areas.
The residents of each apartment at Ilk are entitled to confirm one booking a year. “High-demand times, such as Christmas and public holidays cannot be booked to allow more people to use the facilities,” says a spokeswoman for Little Projects. “At Christmas, there were about 12 to 15 residents with their families and friends using the rooftop facilities and the barbecue,” she says.
Residents hire the kitchen suite and the cinema through the building manager or the intranet and pay a $200 bond.
“We have a different approach to other developers,” says Michael Fox, managing director of Little Projects. “We set out to create a community and take apartment living to a new level. The apartment you are living in might be quite small, but the building offers so many other options to hang out with friends.” Mr Fox says that the communal facilities were a factor in ILK selling out so quickly. “It sold and settled in three months with a good mix of owner-occupiers and investors.”
Little Projects is building another development in the Forrest Hill precinct to be called Central South Yarra and completed mid-2015. The rooftop garden here will have a wellbeing centre, gym, pool, barbecue and dining area and what Mr Fox describes as an “amazing kitchen”.
However, the best is yet to come. Little Projects has bought a new block of land in Docklands and its development, Mr Fox says, will “knock everyone’s socks off. It will have everything”.
The quest for community, and the idea of a vertical village, is seen in various ways in Melbourne’s developments. Triptych in Kavanagh Street, Southbank, designed by Nettleton Tribe Architects and developed by RI Investment Trust, took the vertical village idea to heart in its design of the building. Aswell as a formidable range of communal facilities, each three levels of Triptych are grouped into a cluster and open to dramatic “village spaces”. Each is an atrium with three stories of glass giving bay views. Residents meet here in the normal coming and going of everyday life, reducing the anonymity of highrise living and giving the social opportunities experienced in low density living.
Hamton’s medium-density, three-stage development – Eden,Haven and Sanctuary on the River – on the banks of the Yarra and designed by Rothelowman takes health and wellbeing very seriously. The Wellbeing Retreat, comprising a heated lap pool and spa, gym, sauna and a massage and beauty room, is backed by a team of instructors and therapists. Available to residents are a personal trainer, yoga instructor, massage therapist, beautician, swim coach and even an art curator.