Kate Jones, journalist at Domain, interviews Chris McCue on Como Terraces and its strong relationship with the natural landscape.
Long before it was an urban setting, South Yarra was an inspiration for famed landscape painter Frederick McCubbin. The Yarra River and its bushy banks were captured in an impressionist style by McCubbin, who once lived in the inner-eastern suburb.
The same bushland colours have provided a similar influence for the designers behind a new residential development soon to take shape on Alexandra Avenue.
Como Terraces comprises 39 residences built on a 8500-square-metre site that slopes down to the banks of the Yarra. The architecture lends itself to the terrain, with eight buildings positioned in a terraced fashion so that each home enjoys a unique view of the city, the river, or the landscaped surroundings.
This approach was a natural fit for the site, says Chris McCue, the managing director of architecture and interior design studio Carr. “We didn’t want to just realise one building as a multi-res monolith on the top of this landform, which interestingly falls 26 metres from the back of the site down to the river’s edge,” he says.
“So, we were dealing with the idea of creating a pattern of development that feels like it belongs in the Alexandra Avenue precinct and the South Yarra precinct; that feels like a series of houses that are all distributed across this mountainous landscape.”
The landscape architecture by TCL takes its cues from the river and its surroundings, with indigenous planting closer to the river and introduced plants – in keeping with the established and affluent houses and gardens in the area – introduced as the land rises.
This diversity of colour is reflected in the unique aesthetic of each building. “It’s set up so that no two buildings are the same – they’re sort of shifting on a plane and shifting on an axis so that they’re moving relative to the building in front to get different views of either the Yarra River or Richmond across the river, or to the CBD,” McCue says.
“That, coupled with the difference in topography, meant that there was a really interesting juxtaposition of form.” The positioning of each building makes for a tranquil environment, even though it’s just four kilometres to the city centre. “This is not just a normal, tall tower,” says Cbus Property chief executive Adrian Pozzo. “Where it is, is very private – each residence is very quiet and private … because of the lushness of the surroundings and the streetscape.”
Publication – Domain
Author – Kate Jones
Publication date – October 2023