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681-709 Chapel Street, 3141 Melbourne

We’ve all heard of a liquid lunch, but liquid architecture? Well Elenberg Fraser have done it again, with Avenue, their latest residential building for Fridcorp, situated on the corner site of Alexandra Avenue and Chapel Street.

This is a building of pure phenomena. Like the ripples that spread outwards from skipping stones across a creek, Avenue is a series of pillowy curtain walls that radiate out over the surface. This ripple effect helps the building turn the corner, giving it a picturesque planning outcome; the fluid surface reflects and refracts the suns rays. Like a pool of water, Avenue’s surface is cool in the shade, but flares in the warmth of the afternoon sun. The natural surroundings, from the sky to the trees, are captured in the façade - their movements are mirrored in the surface, creating dynamic inhabitation. In this way, the design of the building amplifies the characteristics of the natural world and then rearranges them into discrete pictures. Without a podium, the sculptural form appears to rise from a contemporary moat: a thin screen of water at the building’s base.

Not just for looking, the pillowy walls also create bay windows for each apartment, looking up and down Chapel St, residents stand in the view surrounded by a canopy of trees and the clouds in the sky. Each apartment also has a conservatory, creating a balcony like space within the residence. Contemporary luxury demands a high level of amenity and Avenue delivers: natural light and ventilation, privacy, clear open spaces and an over-arching sense that, like the natural world, this place is built to last.

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