Creating journeys of discovery

For Carr Designs’ Chris McCue, designing the vision of a world-class residential and community precinct is about providing a base that allows the personalities of its future residents to flourish.

In this case, that base is Melbourne Square and, for Southbank, the MCG-sized development on Kavanagh St, complete with an urban park and supermarket, represents a community-defining opportunity for something spectacular.

While developer OSK Property had expressed its desire for a landmark from the outset, the combined team of Cox Architecture and Carr Designs has been largely responsible for delivering that vision.

And having started his career with Cox in 2000, Carr Designs’ director of architecture understands the importance of architecture and design working in unison to deliver extraordinary homes that elevate the quality of life.

“The driver for us is to make the resident feel as if there is one hand across the entire development,” Chris said. “We always strive for an interior design scheme that responds completely to the direction established by the architect.”

“We want people to bring their personalities to it, their artwork and their own life so what we put forward is just one vision of who might live in them but it’s always interesting to see how people then do genuinely make them their home and their sanctuary.”

From studying interior design and architecture and starting his journey with Cox, Chris has developed into a leading expert in his field with a career that has seen him take on roles in Shanghai, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Italy.

Since returning to Melbourne, he said he had been encouraged by a growing shift both within the industry and at a government level to set higher standards in good architecture and design.

“I think the implementation of the state government’s Better Apartments Design Standards is a welcome change, as architects,” he said. “My criticism of Melbourne property had always been that there was a lot of money and focus spent on interior solutions but not on the building envelope and getting the efficiencies of the façade working as they should relative to our climate,” he said.

“There is the fair share of building stock in Melbourne generally that doesn’t pay heed to the importance of a good quality architectural outcome. I think for OSK Property to invest genuinely in a really good architectural outcome is what really interested me to be part of the project.”

Stage one of Melbourne Square, currently under construction, consists of the first of two of the project’s four residential towers. A hotel tower and commercial tower are also still to come.

Together with the urban park, Woolworth’s supermarket, childcare and retail facilities that will be delivered during stage one, Chris said the first two towers had been designed with complementary languages of a healthy community in mind.

Both targeting the owner-occupier, he said every apartment had been tailored using a simple, yet sophisticated, design approach that adopted the “concept of the fold”, providing residents with the flexibility to make it their own.

“The concept of the fold that comes into the language of the architecture is realised in the kitchen and bathroom detail within the apartments,” he said. “There’s obviously a range of scale of apartments so the challenge for us intellectually is to get them working as spaciously efficient as they can do.”

“We design with a base building architectural palate that is pretty timeless so that by the time the building is realised four years down the line from when we start the initial design process it still holds true as this genuinely authentic design outcome.”

“All of the buildings are wrapped in this curtain wall glass so the view and the aspect to where you are in the precinct is always about engaging with the local context so therefore it doesn’t need a lot of detail or complexity within the apartments themselves.”

Currently promoting the project’s Spring Collection, Carr’s rationale not only pays homage to the green community spaces on Melbourne Square’s doorstep but also promotes the best of everything that Southbank has to offer.

And by partnering with the globe’s leading designers on every aspect of the project, the special amenity offered throughout the entire development will ensure that it becomes a destination that further strengthens Southbank.

“The idea of launching the Spring Collection was about providing something that was fresh. Now that we’re coming out of the depths of winter you can see yourself within the apartment, so it’s lighter and it’s brighter.”

“I think the view photography is pretty incredible in terms of the distance that you can see of the bay on the south and within the city context. I think the integration of art into the development is also continuing to be a richer piece and genuinely ties into Southbank as the Arts Precinct. It’s really exciting.”

When the circus came to Southbank

When the circus came to Southbank

July 6th, 2022 - Robin Grow
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