- Article by Neometro
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The southern Smith Street gateway to Fitzroy and Collingwood will be revistalised into a modern café, retail and residential precinct by design-led developer Neometro, as part of its plans to redevelop a key site near the corner of Victoria Parade over the next two years.
Nine Smith Street will comprise 47 one and two bedroom apartments split across a seven level building on Smith Street and a five level building on Little Smith Street, with both buildings separated by an expansive light well.
Designed to pay homage to the furniture emporiums and department stores popular between Gertrude and Johnson Streets in years gone by, the $35 million mixed-use development will also feature five commercial spaces along Smith Street. These spaces will provide a new burst of activity along the southern end of Smith Street, which will be further enhanced by new seating, bike racks, landscaping and local art works along the street frontage.
Neometro director Jeff Provan said the development, designed in collaboration with MA Architects, aimed to rejuvenate southern Smith Street and provide a new gateway to Fitzroy and Collingwood.
“For many years this end of Smith Street has been forgotten as urban rejuvenation has concentrated on Gertrude Street and further north along Smith Street,” he said. “As a gateway to Fitzroy and Collingwood, we see a lot of potential for Nine Smith Street to contribute to the reinvention of the area and the growth of these suburbs.”
Bold in design, both internally and externally, Nine Smith Street will add robust design to the streetscape in the form of a concrete and masonry façade that unfolds in layers to create privacy and minimise the scale of the building. With all apartments allocated generous balconies, these outdoor spaces will be protected on the ground floor by a perforated concrete wall that provides glimpses to the world outside. Planter boxes on the first floor will provide green relief while referencing the secret roof gardens of Fitzroy’s past and present.
As the building ascends, the architecture will become lighter, with a slender steel frame and sub blinds on upper levels. At the building’s highest point, the uppermost level will have a roof-like form echoing the industrial sawtooth roofs common locally. The Little Smith Street building will complement the design and materials used in the taller building.
“The design of Nine Smith Street pays homage to the larger emporiums and furniture stores of Smith Street past, but also references the future through its use of modern finishes and materials,” Mr Provan said. “It is a building that will stand the test of time and herald the entry to this burgeoning suburb – the heart of Melbourne’s design community.”
Work will commence in late 2014 to demolish existing buildings on the 1,094 square metre site, including a former medical practice and Citroen garage. Construction is expected to be complete by April 2016. With a focus on maximising space, internally the apartments will feature Neometro’s signature hidden storage solutions, including custom double-sided joinery in duck egg blue that provides a division of space between kitchens and study nooks as well as plenty of out-of-sight places to tuck away life’s essentials.
The light and bright kitchens have been designed for utility, with stainless steel benchtops providing an industrial contrast to intricate white tiled splashbacks, which further complement the white gloss laminate cabinetry and highlight timber-backed open shelving. This bespoke open shelving in powdercoated steel provides extra storage in kitchens as well as bathrooms.
Kitchens all feature Miele appliances, integrated fridges, generous pantries and hidden European laundries. Providing connectivity between wet spaces, the kitchens’ mosaic tiled splashbacks are replicated floor-to-ceiling in bathrooms and juxtaposed against large matt grey tiles that wrap from the floor up one wall. Custom towel rails and mirrored cabinetry provide touches of luxury.
Where the expansive open plan living areas benefit from oak flooring, the generous bedrooms are a cosy hideaway clad in grey goat hair carpeting and feature useful charging stations and double wardrobes with bespoke large format circular timber handles.
Apartments make best use of the site’s west and eastern aspects, with living areas leading out onto balconies and bedrooms facing onto the central light well. With 42 car parks, 49 bike spaces and five scooter berths, Nine Smith Street aims to enhance the pedestrian nature of Fitzroy and Collingwood. One bedroom apartments start at $495,000 and two bedrooms from $750,000.
Nine Smith Street’s display suite is open March 2014.
Working with Edra from the start, Italian designer Francesco Binfaré has produced some of the brand's classics, including the recent Pack and Chiara sofa.