Six Degrees of separation: Hawke + King

Laurence DragomirFebruary 4, 20160 min read

Brunswick Group has partnered with the Eighth Day Baptist Community to revitalise a former service station site in King St, West Melbourne. The new development called Hawke + King is located on an elevated island site bound by a leafy park at the juncture of Hawke, King and Curzon Streets.

Designed by Six Degrees Architects, the project features a community hall, 74 apartments, a convenience store and basement parking. Brunswick Group and Six Degrees have previously worked together to deliver the award-winning Heller Street Park & Residences in Brunswick. The Eighth Day Baptist Community currently occupy a manse building on the site.

With a walkability score of 98, West Melbourne provides a vibrant community backdrop within easy walking distance to popular cafes, restaurants, eclectic shops, gourmet providores and the Queen Victoria Market. The development seeks to be an innovative, interesting and empathetic residential development via a range of initiatives such as good sustainability credentials and building a sense of community. sat down with Six Degrees Director James Legge, and Brunswick Group Directors Paul Bell and Marcus Lyon to gain an insight into the design and planning rationale behind Hawke + King.

Six Degrees of separation: Hawke + King
Hawke + King, exterior view. Image courtesy of The Brunswick Group.

According to Legge, the EDBC wanted to develop the site in an appropriate manner, ensuring it was not overdeveloped. They sought a development partner whose vision for the site aligned strongly with their own and wanted the development to be based on good principles of sustainability: environmental, social and practical, because apartment living is not just about a building, it’s about amenity, long term livability, and a collection of people gathered in a place designed for an enjoyable lifestyle.

It’s about a thoughtful and empathetic way of life, empathetic to the individual who desires space and privacy, but with an understanding of the needs of families, as well as the community.

Six Degrees are passionate about these principles and have built their practice on the notion of growing communities and supporting sustainability and livability. The overall premise of practical sustainability is not about trying to be a commune, but endeavouring to engender a feeling of community through the provision of private space, public space and some spaces in between.

Six Degrees have investigated how people like to occupy space to create different pockets and environments for different groups.

Brunswick Group was established with a vision to create distinctive property projects in order to set ourselves apart in a highly competitive market. Distinctiveness of product is also an important consideration for residential buyers, due to the market dynamics of supply and demand and the benefit of owning a scarce asset.

Hawke + King is a stunningly unique project, combining a superb location with Six Degrees' distinctive design aesthetic and acute attention to detail, along with a built form that supports long term livability, a sense of community and occupant wellbeing.

Paul Bell, Director, The Brunswick Group

The design team investigated a number of development scenarios and various alternatives for how the site might be developed before settling on a ‘campus-style approach’ according to Legge. The form and articulation of the development was derived via a strategy of breaking the massing down into a series of buildings so it didn’t present as one large mass.

At ground level - the pedestrian environment - a much higher degree of articulation has been provided. This has been achieved through the materiality: employing a variety of much more expressive materials, which are textured and have a tactile quality to them.

The pedestrian experience becomes more like the experience of walking down a side street, with brick textures and steel work, as opposed to a completely glazed frontage. Six Degrees' work tends to put a big emphasis on the importance of street activation and engagement with the surrounding landscape, both soft and hardscape.

Additionally it was critical that access through the site was retained, while maintaining the internal communal space. By breaking the development down into a series of buildings it also allowed the design team to provide open exposed walkways to the interior of the site. “You can’t create community but what you can do is facilitate and encourage it” says Legge.

The raised site provides many apartments with good aspects in all directions, maximising the views afforded towards the Melbourne CBD and beyond. All apartments are dual fronted with a private courtyard or balcony to the external face of the building and substantial floor to ceiling windows which allow for an abundance of natural light and fresh airflow throughout.

Additionally internal walkways have been placed as external communal walkways which provide occupiable space rather than just being a dual loaded corridor. These are inviting landscaped areas where residents can sit, rest and socialise, as well as providing every apartment with a dual aspect with natural light and ventilation at both ends.

These create public and semi-private spaces for residences to use, a reinterpretation of the old “porch front.”

The community aspects of Hawke + King are unique; of course we can only encourage and facilitate community, but the outdoor corridors, internal courtyards, personal courtyards and rooftop garden are all hugely habitable spaces for residents to relax in and enjoy. Alternatively solitude is also an option on private balconies.

James Legge, Principal Architect, Six Degrees

    Hawke + King's 74 apartments are distributed amongst four buildings which vary in height from between 3 and 6 levels, These surround an attractive 300sqm internal centrally located courtyard which punctuates the internal space of the building and allows residents to commune with nature.

    Apartments either open out or overlook the courtyard, providing passive surveillance to a space that is not quite public but rather a quasi-public space drawing on similar concepts at Heller Street. The apartments are above standard sizes and the various typologies have been designed to appeal to all demographics. These are sized from:

    • 21 x One bedroom starting from 55 SQM
    • 41 x Two bedrooms starting from 70 SQM
    • 12 x Three bedrooms starting from 100 SQM
    Six Degrees of separation: Hawke + King
    Typical apartment interior. Image courtesy of The Brunswick Group.

    Hawke + King features a range of recycled materials and warehouse inspired finishes, including:

    • Recycled bricks
    • Recycled timber floor boards
    • Exposed concrete ceilings

    Together with a number of other sustainability initiatives listed below these provide Hawke + King with one of the highest energy ratings of any apartment building in Melbourne (7.3 stars).

    • Bicycle racks
    • Composting system
    • Rain Water collection
    • A green roof top designed to attract wildlife
    • A communal roof deck complete with veggie garden
    • Fresh air ­ reticulation through dual aspect front and back doors and high ceiling fans
    • Courtyards with private open space
    • Courtyards with semi open space
    • Walkway labyrinth as opposed to internal corridors

    Early demand has seen almost 30% of the building reserved, all to local buyers, mostly owner occupiers.

    The Hawke + King project is entirely unique in a market that has an overabundance of options. The site itself is entirely unique, being an island essentially on the cusp of trendy Errol Street and just moments from the CBD and Vic market.

    The internal layouts are efficient and sizes are generous. When coupled with the 2.9m high ceilings, these apartments will seem dramatically more spacious than others in the inner north. Internal finishes are bold yet simple and timeless. Many promise warehouse style living but rarely is it delivered like it is here at Hawke + King.

    Daniel Cashen, Director, Knight Frank

    Hawke + King is scheduled to begin formal marketing and construction during 2016.

    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.
    Six Degrees Architects
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