During 2015 Urban Melbourne highlighted the model example unfolding across Essendon's Mt Alexander Road and Keilor Road, where higher density developments were flourishing along the established transport corridor.
At that time there were six apartment projects in development, with the ClarkeHopkinsClarke-designed Alexa at 1050 Mt Alexander Road fresh into demolition. Construction proper commenced during December 2015 and near on two years later Alexa is now complete.
Developed for Accord Property Group, the project includes 89 one, two and three-bedroom apartments over seven levels and is topped with two expansive penthouses.
ClarkeHopkinsClarke describe Alexa as one of Essendon’s most "significant multi-residential projects which injects a bold, gold-rush era inspired contemporary aesthetic to the surrounding streetscape. The project is defined by smooth flowing forms, offering a high level of design that is distinct against Essendon’s established Edwardian and Art Deco character."
It should also be noted Alexa's form is very much distinct from contemporary higher density counterparts which have also sprung up along Mt Alexander Road. Whilst the majority carry a design nous that is less than inspiring, Alexa does, in fact, deliver on design aesthetics.
Mount Alexander Road was originally a route to the gold fields and, as the Alexa site is on top of a hill, our design response is about stratification and the layering of rock, which we referenced with the building’s gold coloured screening.
The perforated metal has a distinct quality in that it changes its tone depending on the sunlight. This contrasts with the sculptural massing of the other elements.ClarkeHopkinsClarke partner Toby Lauchlan
Alexa's gold metal bands are prominent from all visible frontages, and as outlined above takes inspiration from the site’s connection to Melbourne’s gold rush era. This golden visual 'top' flows down to ground level across the projects southern frontage.
Below the gold banding, residential levels are defined by continuous white bands, "tying the design to the movement of the street, while the building’s curved forms work to soften the mass of the development."
Almost triangular in nature, Alexa's footprint provides it with sight lines over Mt Alexander Road and the CBD beyond, whilst eastern facing apartments overlook, and have direct access to Cliff Allison Park. The penthouse level is set well back from the dominant form, resulting in it being barely visible from street level.
Internally metallic gold fixtures compliment Alexa's golden highlights.
The interiors are contemporary and understated. We wanted to provide a neutral canvas that would allow buyers to make their own mark through the addition of artworks or interior decoration.
Within this minimalist palette we put a lot of effort into the detailing and joinery. Providing plenty of well-designed storage as well as ample desk spaces was an important point of difference both for us and the developers.
ClarkeHopkinsClarke partner Toby Lauchlan
Contractor Buildcorp Commercial successfully delivered Alexa on schedule, leaving one current residential project in Essendon attributed to ClarkeHopkinsClarke.
165-169 Keilor Road is a product of the firm and sees approval in place for a seven-level development which includes 121 large apartments and 923 square metres of retail space. Sited on a 3,548 square metre corner plot, the development site was offered for sale mid this year under the guidance of agent Colliers.