One of the oldest inner-city suburbs in Melbourne, Fitzroy’s life and spirit has grown from a predominately working-class community to a vibrant, creative and diverse neighbourhood. C.F. Row sits within a bricolage of building types and scales, a collective body of dwellings marked by the patina of time. The development brief called for the creation of a residential development that fosters a unique lifestyle experience and is born from the DNA of Fitzroy. The design ultimately responds to these aspirations by reflecting the dynamic cultural climate that is deeply authentic to its setting. A combination of 52 dwelling types including one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and townhouses, encourages a diverse mix of occupants, reflecting the inherent nature of Fitzroy.
The premise of creating multi-residential living within this historically rich environment inherently supports principles of sustainability in its contribution to the community’s environmental, social and economic prosperity. Woods Bagot arranged the site as a series of building forms. Townhouses and a taller apartment building to the south are separated by an open landscaped laneway, which promotes the optimisation of northern light for all townhouses and many apartment dwellings. The establishment of a masonry datum along the perimeter of the site functions as a passively performing facade.
The apartment form to the south, although lighter in its materiality, is more active in nature through the use of horizontal sliding screens doors that provide solar control. Additional sustainability features include rainwater collection for non-potable water usage, PV panels dedicated to common energy usage, double-glazed windows, and an average six-star Nathers Rating.
A sense of being engulfed in Fitzroy’s neighbourhood charm extends into the building’s interior. Interior volumes speak of their construction process, and the legacy of craftsmanship that once occupied the site – which was home to a premier furniture maker. The planning of each of the units allows for natural light to fill all bedrooms and living spaces. Balconies become an extension of the interior, fusing experiences with the vibrant exterior life of Fitzroy.
Ultimately, in keeping with and giving back to the broader neighbourhood, C.F. Row embraces the intricacy and inherent grain of its setting. This is demonstrated by enhancing the civic experience at the pedestrian level through a vibrant retail activation at the corner of the site – akin to a quintessential Fitzroy pub or milk-bar.
Photography: Trevor Mein