33 Mackenzie Street / Elenberg Fraser

I think the first image of this project is my favourite, like Yayoi Kusama's infinity mirror, only more dark and space-like. Having worked on multi-unit residential projects, it's quite something to set apart your project (brand) and to do it in such a stunning and well crafted way. What a beautifully simple idea, the best ones usually are. I must add that I think Melbourne would have to be the home of this project as it has something of a reputation for design of darker interiors - I don't make a habitat of saying this about residential projects or commercial buildings, but - love it.

Architects Callum Fraser and Zahava Elenber of Elenberg Fraser have unveiled their latest residential project - 33 MacKenzie Street in Melbourne, Australia. I have previously posted about their design for Vue de Monde restaurant.

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Elenberg Fraser’s new residential project, perfectly positioned at the edge of Melbourne’s CBD, creates a vertical village that follows a story of ascendance and transcendance, inspired by the ancient myths of the angel Metatron (or Enoch, or Elijah) and Pandora’s Box.

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As you enter the lobby you open Pandora’s box and ascendance shifts to transcendance, as infinite mirrors create the sensation of a body suspended in space. The overall impression is of a box cracked open, bronze and patterned light forming a path through the black depths. The apartments themselves are white and bronze light. Adaptable, their sliding doors enable the space to be reconfigured, residents can choose whether to integrate the front room into living environments.

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This project’s massing is crucial to its design. Broken into a series of six white, concrete towers of varying heights, and bound by a central lift core, 33M’s profile mirrors Melbourne’s skyline, creating a city within a city – a juxtaposed silhouette of its geographic context.

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The buildings are clad in Metatron’s feathers, at the lower levels the loose feathers wrap around all four sides of the podium, forming a sunshade around the bronze glass. The upper levels of the tower are abutted with white concrete panels that also feature feather-like forms, giving them nap and grain. Balconies are recessed into the tower blocks so that the eye reads the full form.

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The feathers cue you to look skyward – 33M’s vertical villages culminate in a variety of shared social spaces at the top of each tower, giving residents the convenience of apartment living with an unexpected luxury of space. There are four rooftop garden areas, designed in collaboration withOculus, which have garden walls, sun lounges and a pool. Whatever your schedule, you can make the most of the precious daylight hours as different gardens receive maximum sunlight at different periods throughout the day – morning, mid and late afternoon.

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Other rooftop areas include a spinning room, where you can ride off into the distance, leaving the worries of the day behind you, as well as an opulent private dining room with fabulous views. This area is perfect for entertaining large groups, it comes complete with an articulated boardwalk and sunbaking area where you can soak up the gentle rays of early evening. Activating the rooftops as habitable spaces completes the social organisation of 33M’s vertical villages.

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