Renowned developer Michael Piccolo discusses exciting new project 'Fitzroy House'
An iconic heritage building on the corner of Argyle and Fitzroy streets, once home to a boot-maker, is due for a major upgrade, as renowned developer Piccolo gets the green light to commence construction. The boutique residence will feature 34 apartments and commercial spaces, and has been designed in collaboration with Hecker Guthrie and Jackson Clements Burrows.
Urban.com.au: Given Fitzroy House’s unique heritage as a 19th Century boot maker shop, how has the development been designed to preserve the historic character of the property? What was the inspiration behind the design?
Michael Piccolo: The heritage element of this building was fundamental to how we approached the design. We wanted to retain the iconic façade, including the striking arched windows and bluestone sills and the faded paint signage. Knowing the heritage building would remain as ground floor commercial space, we then looked at how to incorporate the new residences in a way that was sensitive to the façade and the local streetscape. This inspired the idea of the ethereal lantern-like structure that sits above and set back from the heritage element so as not to overshadow it. The interiors and materials used are also reminiscent of Fitzroy’s history with gritty, tinted elements that speak to the tenacity of this environment.
U: Have there been any obstacles to reach the approval stage of this project?
MP: No, local council were very supportive of our proposal and we’re happy to be working with them to ensure the end result adds vibrancy and character to the local surrounds.
U: What fuelled your decision to appoint a builder ahead of the residential pre-sales?
MP: I think in today’s market buyers want to have confidence in the development they’re buying into and they want to know as much information as possible. We always aim to approach things from the purchaser’s point of view, and if I were buying into a project I would want to know who the whole project team is before I buy. By appointing a builder upfront, we can give our buyers confidence that not only will the construction definitely be moving ahead, but they can know who will be working on it from the start and can have peace of mind knowing they’ve made an informed decision.
U: Are there any design or structural themes which connect all three projects (Fitzroy House, Elwood House and Garden House)?
MP: All three projects are distinct in their design and character, which reflect their local environment. The connecting theme across all our projects is the attention to detail that we implement and our consideration for how we can improve the lives of our residents. For that reason all the projects have several things in common including private outdoor areas for each apartment, expansive living spaces and bedrooms and homes that have access to abundant natural light.
U: What’s in the pipeline for future projects? Can we expect to see a fourth “House” in years to come?
MP: Absolutely, we will keep building these houses for many years to come. We have an excellent team of collaborators and industry partners that we work with consistently, and together we continue to learn from each project and evolve, so each house is better than the last. Good things take time and in order to create these houses successfully you need to find the right location, so when we do there will be another house on the horizon.