18-20 Bruce Street, Kensington

Catalyst for rejuvenation

18-20 Bruce Street, Kensington
Sydney Design Collective

Set within Kensington’s historic industrial precinct, the eight-storey commercial development designed by Carr at 18-20 Bruce St is the first project to pass Melbourne City Council’s Green Factor Tool and is set to revive an area ready for life again.

18-20 Bruce St, Kensington. Render by Studio Piper.

Nestled between North Melbourne and Flemington, Bruce Street is uniquely placed to rejuvenate Kensington’s historical industrial wedge. Defined by its streets of red brick warehouses, towering grain silos and the Younghusband woolstore dating back to 1901, the proposed new eight-storey commercial building designed by Carr is the first development of scale in the precinct.

Delivering both the architectural and interior design elements, the proposal pays tribute to the project’s historical site with its robust form made up of concrete slabs spliced with red brick piers, balanced with fine metal balustrades.

Early concept sketch of 18-20 Bruce Street, Kensington.

Composed predominantly of concrete, recycled bricks and glazed elements, the podium is made up of four levels and faces directly onto Bruce St, while the four levels above the podium are set back four meters to break up the form and massing.

The architecture responds to the vernacular of the existing fabric of Kensington and nearby warehouse buildings. The form is expressed as a series of slab edges that create a dialogue with the horizontal banding of the neighbouring warehouse buildings. Inserted skewed brick piers are positioned between the main façade and the boundary line, framing views to the northeast and towards the city to the southeast. The piers are positioned and utilised to provide passive solar protection from the western sun, while the hit and miss brickwork allows additional filtered natural light and a layer of articulation and craftmanship to the façade.

Deep balconies protect glazing and offer ample outdoor amenity for tenants to enjoy. Passive design elements like these mean that the architecture and the design is inherently sustainable from conception rather than an afterthought.

At ground level, a large canopy tree is centrally planted and rises through the slab punctuation, becoming one with the building. Designed by Sydney Design Collective and Junglefy, the landscaping extends to include a 400-metre squared extensive bio-diversity green roof.

Bruce Street is the first proposal to pass the Melbourne City Council’s new Green Factor Tool. The initiative, which has recently been formally adopted, will impose a positive obligation on landscape designers, architects, planners and developers to improve the extent of vegetation cover on private land in Melbourne.

We’re encouraged by the response from Melbourne City Council and hope Bruce Street sets a benchmark precedent for the implementation of green infrastructure.”

Stephen McGarry Profile
Associate Director

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