A reworking of an existing heritage-listed apartment contained within its outer walls, Caringal Flats sees its new alterations focused on openness and flow. Ellul Architecture pays an homage to the original architectural intent by ensuring the new insertions further emphasise views outward and ensure a contemporary relevance.
Located in Toorak, the original apartment building stands as an example of early densified living in inner-south Melbourne, with key reminders of the experimental architecture of its time intact. Designed and built in 1951 by JW Rivett, the complex is comprised of a series of supporting buildings – the Tower, Crescent and the accompanying garages. Like many homes of another era, the building has been passed between a variety of owners over time, seeing various additions and changes alter the original design intent to suit each ensuing resident. Ellul Architecture ensures an embedded flexibility in the revised planning to allow for the ebb and flow of functionality over time.
After the ill-fitting additions were removed, restoring the shell of the building to how it was originally intended became the focus. By engaging a team of impassioned and skilled craftspeople, each new element was given a clearer connection to contemporary liveability. In overlaying a more purposeful connection to place and the stylistic origins of the structure, the modern composition of the apartments sees them act as spaces for retreat, socialising and working. As was originally intended, each floor contains just one residence, allowing views from each aspect to animate the interior. Working with a more modern understanding of orientation, the entire building is replanned to optimise energy capture and natural light across the seasons.
The new space was imagined in the process of restoring the structure back to its original form. Whilst there was an effort to restore worn detailing and original features, new joinery helps to divide the plan within, embedding key storage and support. A palette of muted finishes ensures the original features and surrounding view to the nearby Melbourne skyline remain a focus. Each new element and layer is added to instil a sense of familiarity and warmth.