Elm Apartments
What’s in a name? Quite a lot, as far as Elm, our new residential project for Fridcorp, is concerned. The building is a continuous glass box with leaf like screens, integrated gardens, and textured concrete and perforated panels. Elm is synonymous with the brand of environment, creating a clear link between the name of the building and its identity. Incorporating the brand into the design enhances, rather than detracts from, the architecture by revealing textures and treatments, helping tie together a coherent visual identity. The collaboration between architects, landscape architects and interior designers has resulted in a building that goes beyond a collective identity into collective environmental performance. A green ribbon works it way through the building, starting with the green wall on the outside of the ground floor entry that draws you in, leading you to another vertical garden in the lobby. Following the green trail takes you to the lift where you emerge on level 5 to the podium rooftop communal area – a space filled with lush vegetation and green walls. The green ribbon also winds up the building – a series of planter boxes are positioned outside all apartments’ master bedrooms. The planter boxes assist with microclimate management as well as offering residents a leafy outlook, a rare joy for apartment dwellers. The building’s L-shape provided another opportunity for green living. In regards to the ongoing architectural conundrum, the problem of the internal corner, Elenberg Fraser took an approach of evacuation and addition, pulling the apartment space out of that area and turning it into another garden space. Elm’s North and West facades feature sunshades, their varied rotations arranged to create a Bridget Riley inspired op-art piece, that draws your eye in, challenging it to rest on any one spot. Viewed from different angles, the fins become leaves dripping from the Elm tree, further exploring the phenomena of surface. The fins are much more than art, they form a technologically advanced cooling system as well as providing increased privacy for residents. By shielding the building from sunshine between 12-3pm, the fins dramatically reduce the heat load, making it significantly easier for the air-conditioning to deal with the high demands of the late afternoon, and ensuring the apartments don’t over-heat. The vertical fins on the West façade extend past the building line to increase privacy between neighbours. In addition to the sunshades, all windows are double-glazed with low emissivity directional glazing, which is the product of two years research and development with an international glass manufacturer. Unlike most apartment glazing, this coating appears bronze from the outside but colour neutral from inside, meaning it lets in precious daylight while shielding from harmful rays and retaining a high level of thermal performance. Inside, the two bedroom apartments become an extension of Elm’s brand. Green space is introduced through the planter boxes, visible from the master bedrooms, and joinery and furniture are used in place of rooms and corridors to direct the circulation to the feature kitchen and bathroom. Mimicking the unpredictability of the natural world, design elements such as the cylindrical shower and tiled floor provide exclamation points of surprise and delight. Elm is not afraid to put its identity centre stage – its focus on natural living offers residents excellent quality of life and amenity by exploring the technology of surface through sensory art and perception.


20 photos and 3 drawings

Building Activity

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