131 Bourke StreetEdit profile
131-135 Bourke Street, the new site for the Boutique Citadines Serviced Apartments, elegantly stretches from the Bourke Street frontage back through to Little Collins Street to the South. Located conveniently in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, the site is historically home of a Victorian retail arcade, long lost with lack of preservation. The area borders the elegant European retail strips, live theatre venues and the best of establishment restaurant and cafe culture. The unusually long, narrow site presented unique opportunities to explore the idea of interconnection. The maze of laneways, for which Melbourne is famous; their small boutique cafes, hidden shops and galleries, was the inspiration for the design principles. The entry, a discreet width of three metres, seemingly continues the foot path to the interior, acting to blur the line between public and private zones. Natural light beyond, via an elongated skylight void along with connectivity to an existing laneway, together celebrate the Melbourne laneway phenomenon. As in a street, we sense a line of shopfronts; a side entry to the restaurant, stairs to the conference spaces, and beyond, the hotel lobby, revealing a warm retreat from the city. Designed with a predominant north and west orientation, the building uses selected clear glazing at all habitable levels. The design concept features a white ribbon element that folds back and forth through selected floor levels until reaching the podium level. The ‘ribbon’ concept is designed to provide a distinct and unique architectural element that reduces the scale of the 24 level façade, by grouping together two to three floors and connecting them in horizontally proportioned bands. This provides a stacked composition and distinct horizontal articulation. To the street frontages the ‘ribbon’ is ‘broken’ by horizontal screens that provide visual permeability to the apartments behind. At ground level a canopy is constructed to both street frontages to provide weather protection. The building incrementally steps back from the building frontage to Bourke Street and continues to setback the ‘ribbon’ and stepping stone effect to subtlety crank the ends. Internally this design language is repeated through various elements; the cut-outs in the reception counter, signage, ceiling profiles and wall patterns, referencing the facade ribbon, exploring the folding lines of maps, traces of history, layers of urban pathways. Past the restaurant, the reception is revealed, a high contrast to the cooler ambience of the “lane`, employing a warm palette of Ironbark, Travertine floors, aged brass, leather and a residential lounge setting. The waiting environment welcomes guests to dwell, meet up or just relax, supported by a business facility, newspapers and visitors information. The timber stairs lead through the void to a generous conference facility, balcony over Bourke Street, and for the guests, a lap pool, gym and deck over Little Collins Street. Along with Melbourne’s laneway culture there lays a deeply established love of fine art. In celebration of Australian artists, the lobby displays a large work by the well known Freddie Timms. With the assistance of art consultant, Andrew Gaynor, Emma Langridge and Mark Rodda were commissioned to produce five unique works. Digitally printed to aluminium panels, these vibrant works sit against a contemporary apartment interior. The apartments offer a fresh, relaxed residential environment. Warm, neutral colours and materials form a backdrop to vibrant colour punctuation seen in textiles and artwork together creating a unique contemporary space. The commitment to provide floor to ceiling glazing in every apartment, reinforces the sense of living in the heart of Melbourne, with wide views to the West along with glimpses through the city to Port Phillip Bay.