Palmer St - The final stage of Jaques Richmond

Palmer Street Hero shot. © Riverside Group
Palmer Street Hero shot. © Riverside Group

Recently was invited to inspect the display suite for Palmer St, the third and final stage of Riverside Group's Jaques development in Richmond. Located just three kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, the site was was once occupied by the renowned Jaques factory.

Founded in 1885 by Edward Jaques who along with his family fled Revolutionary France, his company produced rock crushers for quarries, a specialty in which Jaques would become world leaders with their Palmer Street Plant in Richmond. Jaques machines are still an integral part of the mining and quarry industries with Melbourne’s City Loop employing Jaques burrowing machines to dig its tunnels.

The Richmond plant was eventually sold in 1997 when the company relocated to Clayton South, and it's the site's rich industrial heritage that served as the context for the design of Jaques development.

Designed by Fender Katsalidis as per earlier stages, Palmer St features 56 boutique apartments across a 6-storey wedge-shaped building. A signature café/restaurant of approximately 200sqm will be located on the ground floor at the pointed edge of its wedge-shaped base, while a gym on level one for exclusive use by Palmer St residents will add further to the overall activity created by the development.

The building's exterior is contemporary in design, providing a contrasting counterpoint to the red brick built form of the former factory. It aims to achieve a "lightness of presence" primarily through its articulated glazed façade and tapered footprint.

Although contemporary in nature, Palmer St has been designed to partner with the more industrial referenced Stages 1 and 2, through the application of robust copper panels, white polished pre-cast frame, metal features and copper framing. These have been used in a restrained way to enrich the building and compliment the red brick of the remnants of the factory facades.

We wanted to create beautiful architecture without alienating the neighbourhood. We’ve worked hard to make Palmer St something the community will love. We wanted to create architecture that while referencing the heritage of the site, is also primarily very contemporary.

Karl Fender, FKA
Palmer St - The final stage of Jaques Richmond
Stage 2 currently under construction. © Riverside Group

The currently under construction Stage 2 features a mix of 229 apartments spread across two buildings; the 10-storey 5 Tonne Apartments, and the 6-storey Iron Works Building. This followed hot off the heels of the success of Stage 1's 126 apartments and townhouses, completed in 2013.

The success of the project is largely attributed to the building’s floor plans which have been designed to appeal to locals that expect and appreciate quality, with 80% of the 300 sales in the Jaques development to date being local buyers the majority of which hail from within a 5-7km radius. Further to this 75% of all purchases have been made by owner-occupiers.

Richmond is emerging as a top market for empty nesters and downsizers who require luxurious, quality larger format apartments when they sell the family home and want to move closer to the city.

We have limited the number of apartments per floor in order to create larger residences that will meet the needs of owner occupiers. The premium level of finish aims to appeal to buyers who don’t want to compromise – whether they are upgrading their life and home, or downsizing from the family home.

Kristine Lee, Riverside Group sales and marketing director

Apartment layouts feature bedrooms separated by living areas for improved privacy and to provide a lifestyle more akin to a home than an apartment. A linen press, coat cupboard, imported Italian double wardrobes and walk-in-robes provide extensive storage, which the design team has noted as being a valuable selling point.

Flexibility of use has also been provided for in some apartments, where a room accessed by a sliding door can be sectioned off for a bedroom or opened to further enlarge generous living areas. A number of studies have been designed as big enough to fit a single bed in, aimed at empty nesters as an extra option when the grandchildren come to stay.

The inspiration came from thinking about how people really live in apartments. We wanted it to feel chic but casual, stylish yet understated. The application of colour blocking has been used in the kitchens and bathrooms and gives the interiors some edge. It is the fundamental blend of beauty and functionality, which makes for easy living.

Samantha Eades, interior designer
Palmer St - The final stage of Jaques Richmond
Apartment interior. © Riverside Group

Palmer St is expected to begin construction in July of this year with completion scheduled to coincide with Stage 2 in August 2016.

An assortment of photos of the completed first stage and the under construction Stage 2 can be viewed below.

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

Fender Katsalidis Richmond Riverlee


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