The Fender Katsalidis design makes the most of its setting, writes Stephen Crafti.
Parque, designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects and developed by Setia, has almost sold out. With only a handful of the 332 apartments still unsold, development on the St Kilda Road promenade will begin shortly.
Located on the corner of Moubray Street, Melbourne, the 9000-square-metre site (originally the Institute for the Blind) is one of the largest parcels of land to be developed in this vicinity in recent times.
While the proximity of the city, Albert Park Lake and Greville Street shops have made the development a success, it's also the heritage-listed grounds, with 150-year-old elms, that attracted people.
"It's an extremely unique site. It was important to design a building that was appropriate for this magical setting," says architect Karl Fender, a director of Fender Katsalidis.
While the curvaceous glazed building appears as two towers, with the rise at the St Kilda Road end, Parque is one continuous building, with a 50-metre-long foyer connecting the residential towers.
"The idea was to maximise views from the apartments, whether it's the city aspect, parkland or towards Port Phillip Bay," Fender says.
And unlike most high-rise developments, where newly planted trees take decades to mature, the established elms, already eight storeys high, will make residents feel as though they're living in the treetops.
Comprising, one, two and three-bedroom apartments, including two penthouses, the dwellings vary from 55 square metres for a one-bedroom apartment through to three bedrooms of up to 135 square metres. And while all the rooms are orthogonal, the gentle wraparound glazed facades curve in response to the majestic elms.
Each apartment is finished to Setia's high standards and the communal facilities are world class. The foyer, for example, allows for a variety of meeting areas. However, there are two other communal areas that make living in even the smallest apartment attractive.
As well as a 25-metre pool on the roof, bridging the two towers, there's a gym and massage room. And on the top floor of the front tower, on level 11, is an extensive program for entertaining. There is a multi-purpose room, referred to as the "cube", which slightly cantilevers beyond the glazed facade.
Lined in onyx, this space can be used for business meetings or as a formal dining area. Those wanting a larger space to entertain friends can book the adjacent rooms, one referred to as the library, the other, which includes a kitchen, framed by shallow moats.
"You might want to even book Shannon Bennett for the evening," says Fender, who worked closely with Bennett on the kitchen designs in the apartments.
Fender attributes the success of Parque not only to the location but also the quality of the development itself.
"The apartments are generous and there's been great thought in the detailing," he says.