Edition Office unveils their latest masterpiece, Fenwick St, a remarkable architectural project located in Kew, Australia. Situated on the picturesque edge of the Birrarung/Yarra River and adjacent to Yarra Bend Park, Fenwick St offers a rare connection to breathtaking landscapes while maintaining its proximity to the city. The project’s design concept focuses on seamlessly integrating with the environment, with an emphasis on the architect’s vision and the captivating design elements.
Unobstructed Connections to Nature
Perched on the escarpment, Fenwick St allows unencumbered connections to the surrounding landscapes, which is a rarity in such close proximity to the city. The architectural plan draws these connections deep into the project, extending from the river views to the distant northern vista. By ensuring this link to nature remains part of the public realm, Edition Office creates a harmonious blend of urban and natural elements.
A Balancing Act: Density and Visual Porosity
Maintaining a balance between density and visual porosity was a critical aspect of Fenwick St’s design. Rather than opting for a larger cohesive structure, the project features three visually independent pavilions. These pavilions not only align with the scale of neighboring houses from the 50s and 60s but also connect with the immediate green spaces surrounding them. The clever arrangement of pavilions reframes and preserves views, transforming the project into an immersive visual experience.
Integration with the Terrain and Streetscape
Strategically located at a sharp bend in the street, Fenwick St’s pavilions are split at the fulcrum as one pivots past the site. This arrangement enables the pavilions, connected by a shared basement, to blend into the landscape gracefully. As the pavilions push back into the hill, the height lowers to match the neighboring residential structures, while gradually increasing in height as they absorb the terrain leading to the escarpment. This thoughtful integration creates a seamless transition between the architecture and the natural surroundings.
A Captivating Interior Experience
Fenwick St not only aims to provide a strong connection to the landscape but also delivers a delightful and comforting interior experience. Flack Studio, responsible for the interiors, brings warmth, calmness, and nuanced drama to the living spaces. The design team’s intuitive response to the landscape and context manifests in light-filled private spaces filled with intricate details. The materials used in the interior design, such as copper screens, evolve and age gracefully, adding a touch of elegance to the robust and textured pre-cast concrete construction.
Marrying Nature and Architecture
The landscape design of Fenwick St evokes a sense of the building becoming one with nature. To absorb the basement, the building appears anchored to the site, and its mass and scale are softened through the shifting and rotating of each floor plate, adding movement and dynamism to the structure. The use of copper screening not only ages gracefully but also imparts delicacy to the overall design. As the copper screens weather, and the surrounding gardens mature, the building harmonizes with the evolving natural environment.
Preserving the Streetscape
With the aim of creating nine new dwellings on a site that previously accommodated only one, Fenwick St respects the environmental and cultural value of the location. The design cleverly erodes the potential mass of a single large volume and instead creates three distinct forms that harmonize with the existing streetscape. The buildings appear modest in scale, both in height and perceived mass, as they follow the natural ground slope. Each pavilion takes the form of a wedge, converging at their narrowest points, creating a visually stunning architectural exuberance that extends towards the densely planted center and allows unobstructed sight-lines to the horizon beyond.
Fenwick St, a testament to Edition Office‘s architectural prowess, stands as a unique and captivating project that seamlessly integrates with the natural beauty of its surroundings. Through careful design considerations, the project offers unobstructed connections to landscapes, balances density with visual porosity, and marries architecture with nature. Fenwick St is not only a remarkable addition to Kew’s architectural landscape but also a true testament to the potential of blending urban living with the splendor of the great outdoors.
Lead Architects: Kim Bridgland, Aaron Roberts, Molly Hibberd, Erin Watson
Interiors: Flack Studio
Construction: Coben Building
Landscape: Eckersley Garden Architecture