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   -   The Australian Institute of Architects Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing
   -   The Australian Institute of Architects Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing (VIC)

Balencea Apartments
by Wood Marsh Architecture in association with Sunland Design



Rising 23 storeys, Balencea houses 84 apartments. To match the client's desire to create a high quality unique residential building, Wood Marsh worked closely with Sunland Design to develop an approach that would allow flexibility in planning options and overall building height. There are 5 different plan layouts for the apartment levels with various apartment layouts within them. The apartments float over a base of shared amenities, retail outlet and terraced outdoor space. The building was conceived as a positive and optimistic piece of architecture, to make an exciting contribution to its location. The site is immediately engulfed by the surrounding infrastructure at the intersection of St. Kilda Road and Arthur Street. However, the obvious view corridor to the site, created by the diagonal width of the intersection, was identified as an opportunity for an iconographic statement to give prominence to the corner location. Larger contextual references are made to buildings along St Kilda Road such as the National Gallery of Victoria, the Shrine of Remembrance and the Army Barracks. These buildings express themselves clearly with a restrained palette and have obvious longevity and sculptural presence. Balencea's design language is primarily derived from the exploration of ideas of repetition, surface and extruded form, and how buildings, when seen in perspective can conceal and reveal themselves. Balencea's design embraces this from its imposing, flush surfaced form, its position on the site, and its relationship with the surrounding context. The plan

form of the building sits within the required set-back envelope prescribed for the site, and curls away from the corners. This opens up space and view corridors and creates unexpected slender elevations to the east and west . The building is not impeded by any vertical security or landscaping, and is visible from all sides, reinforcing the gesture of viewing sculptural form in-the-round. The exterior form is derived from a series of interlocking arcs, developed into a continuous fluted extrusion, creating a complex surface and level of reflectivity. By recessing balconies within the main body of the building the reading of the 'flush' continuous form and skin is strengthened. Larger, convex radii are used on the southern elevation as a counterpoint to the arcs on the northern elevation. The southern elevation uses the same silver/black glass and has charcoal horizontal and vertical panels overlayed, which read like a large waffle wrapping over the form. The building is designed to achieve an average 5 star energy rating. This is achieved through careful selection of materials and finishes. Windows are double glazed and tinted to achieve maximum heating and cooling efficiencies, as well as the desired aesthetic colouring and reflectivity. The integration of all disciplines on the project has ensured the primary architectural intent has been achieved and the highest level of amenity afforded. The landscaping surrounding the building is a fully integrated solution enhancing the public approach and the urban position of the development.

Wood Marsh Architecture in association with Sunland Design
Contact address:
Project Team
Project architect: Roger Wood
Design architect: Wood Marsh Pty Ltd Architecture in association wit
Project manager: Sunland Group
Project Manager: Sunland Group
Developer: Sunland Group & Pellicano Group Joint Venture
Developer: Sunland Group & Pellicano Group joint venture
Structural consultant: Bonacci Group & WCG
Acoustic consultant: Watson Moss Growcott Acoustics Pty Ltd
Services consultant: Lincolne Scott Consulting Engineers
Environmental consultant: Arup
Builder: Sunland Constructions
Builder: Sunland Constructions
Planner: Contour Consultants Australia Pty Ltd
Traffic: GTA Consultants
Photographer: Peter Bennetts
Photographer: Gollings Flood Slicer
Photographer: Peter Bennetts
Photographer: Gollings Flood Slicer
Photographer: Gollings Flood Slicer
Photographer: Peter Bennetts
Building surveyor: PLP Building Surveyors

Photographs by Peter Bennetts, Gollings Flood Slicer, Peter Bennetts, Gollings Flood Slicer, Gollings Flood Slicer & Peter Bennetts, text by Wood Marsh Architecture in association with Sunland Design

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects