Little Projects: current success and future intent

Little Projects: current success and future intent
Little Projects: current success and future intent

Previously covered by regarding its excellent public permeability, Tip Top Brunswick can now boast the 2014 Property Review Australia, Heritage Property Award for the integrated six building complex of 411 dwellings. Developer Little Projects' Managing Director Michael Fox was on hand to provide a tour of Tip Top Brunswick, pointing out some of the lesser known qualities for the development while also providing guidance for upcoming projects.

Originally occupied by Northern Bakeries, the Brunswick East development provides for 32,088sqm of gross floor area over buildings rising up to eight levels. Initially encountering stiff opposition from locals, Michael Fox maintains the local perception of the project has changed appreciably now that the ROTHELOWMAN-designed development is complete.

A highly walkable ground plane, retained heritage facades to both the Weston/Edward Street, stepped development maintaining sight lines, free public parking spaces within the underground car park and a 1,400sqm childcare centre have contributed to the Tip Top Brunswick's success and acceptance. Michael Fox was particularly proud of the Little Seeds childcare centre which consumes an entire floor of the westernmost apartment building and is the first of its kind in Brunswick East.

ROTHELOWMAN sought inspiration from the original Dutch Modernist architecture throughout the development. With only the highest quality finishes and fixtures throughout, this clever redevelopment surpasses any other project in the area.

Little Projects
Little Projects: current success and future intent
The retained northern facade of Tip Top Brunswick

Since 2012, Little Projects has completed no less than 1,200 apartments, with inner city suburbs such as South Yarra, St Kilda, Port Melbourne and Brunswick East favoured over Melbourne's CBD. Little Projects’ current Central South Yarra tower has sold out and is now midway through construction, with focus turning toward forthcoming developments.

Last week a planning application was submitted for 153-177 Bridge Road Richmond, with the 2,700sqm site slated to host 191 apartments atop Richmond Hill.

Currently serving as a Thomas Dux grocer, the existing buildings are to make way for a ROTHELOWMAN-designed apartment complex save for the existing heritage facade which will be incorporated into the new build. The third collaboration between architect and developer, 153-177 Bridge Road Richmond was snapped up by Little Projects for near on $20 million in an off-market transaction.

Little Projects: current success and future intent
153-177 Bridge Road, Richmond. Image courtesy Little Projects

Another forthcoming Little Projects development may just deliver the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area its tallest tower to date. A revised planning application for 85-93 Lorimer Street is under consideration which would see a 233 metre residential tower soar above the adjoining Yarra's Edge residential precinct.

Initially conceived by architects Elenberg Fraser as dual residential towers, the scheme has since been revised to a single tower of 900 apartments in order to accommodate increased public open space at ground level. Asked of Little Projects' intentions for the Lorimer Street development, Michael Fox replied by stating the project upon approval would proceed to sales quickly thereafter.

Little Projects: current success and future intent
Preliminary image of 85-93 Lorimer Street. Image courtesy Elenberg Fraser

See below images taken from's visit to Tip Top Brunswick, beginning with the westerly Seeds apartment building/Little Seeds childcare centre and culminating with a look at the newly released Malt tri-level townhouses.

Lead image courtesy ROTHELOWMAN and Elenberg Fraser.
Brunswick East Little Projects RotheLowman Tip Top

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I went and had a walk though of the Tip Top site recently. After having a good look around, I felt pretty flat about the whole thing. It lacks permeable surfaces (ironically, given the title of the previous article) - the public areas mainly consisting of asphalt right up to the entrances. Acoustically, the internal parts of the development echo badly and reflect sound from balcony to balcony. Worst of all (from a street side perspective), the retained 'Dutch Modernist' factory facades have had their main feature downgraded with the removal of all the glass. The factory building looks pretty bad as a result - I can't believe they were allowed to leave the finished building that way, but more than that, I can't understand how an architect could regard unglazed steel frame windows as part of an attractive building facade, regardless of any heritage issues. Add to that the use of shiny aluminium cladding and its a rather unpleasant package all up - a shame, because the built form doesn't look bad from a distance. If you're expecting off-form concrete or rendered curves (as I was), you will be sorely disappointed - this development looks a whole lot worse in person than in photos.
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