Marcus O’Reilly Architects, a St. Kilda based practice, is proud to announce that their project 19 Ruskin Street, Elwood is the recent winner of both “Best New Development 1-5 storeys” and “Best Sustainable Development” in the Annual City of Port Phillip Design and Development Awards.
This 5 unit medium-density housing development been designed to contribute and improve the existing streetscape of a quiet tree lined street in Elwood, Victoria. Through careful selection of timber, standing seam metal and stone finishes the building relates to and complements the mature tree in front of the site as well as referencing the materials on the surrounding properties.
The main volume of the building is faced with a dramatic open jointed spotted gum rain screen that glows like a lantern in the evening. This façade is further animated through sliding timber and galvanized steel screens which help regulate the impact of the harsh afternoon sun to west facing windows. Skillion roofed, standing seam metal clad volumes then hang off this main volume over the driveway and touch the ground lightly through the clever employ of a series of steel moment frames. These tapered steel elements along the driveway not only allowed for the large existing to willows along the southern boundary to happily remain intact but also set up a clear markers down the driveway which help delineate each vertical dwelling.
Each townhouse has three stories providing the ground to sky feeling of a traditional home. Sculptural blackened steel and glass stairs wind their way through each home linking each level. The ground floor of each unit was designed with flexibility in mind. While some users use the space solely as car parking and storage, ample glass doors which open to a permeable courtyard allow other uses such as a bonus/play room, home office, informal living area, workshop and in some cases even converted to an additional bedroom.
High passive solar performance, low embodied energy materials, solar power and solar hot water, underground water tanks, use of spotted gum for solar shading, adaptable car spaces, and robust architecture make this the greenest building in Elwood.”