Designed by CHT Architects with Sora Interiors, the newly completed St James Park Residences in Hawthorn, offer Melbournites an urban, à la mode alternative to the outlived quarter acre dream.
May 28th, 2021
As little as 5 kilometres out of Melbourne’s CBD, Hawthorn is one of the more prestigious neighbourhoods amongst the city’s inner circle. Known for its leafy outlook and family-friendly locale, its reputation is one of “a suburban haven with an urban postcode”, where the residences are stately, the parklands in plenty, and the streets lined with trees. And the new St James Park Residences designed by CHT Architects with Sora Interiors, for Bensons Property Group, fit right in with this milieu.
Cast in the industrial materiality of concrete, glass and steel, the contemporary multi residential mid rise development comprises 19 individual residences, tallied over five levels. And it makes no mistake about its being the new building on the block.
Taking cues from some of the most revered movements of modern architecture and design, the St James Park Residences boast a pragmatic and robust architectural form, characterised by crisp linearity, authentic application of industrial materials and distinctive lack of ornament. It’s a far cry from the grandeur of Hawthorn’s Victorian-era heritage architecture – and intentionally so, out of respect for the relationship between time—past, present and future—and place.
“The CHT design was considerate to the location, creating understated, elegant residences that were perfectly suited to the buyers, most of whom came from the local area, were moving from large homes on big blocks, had never lived in an apartment or bought off-the-plan, and had a strong connection to Hawthorn – a precinct with a rich history of architectural opulence,” says Rick Curtis, managing director at Bensons Property Group.
“These buyers wanted a sense of spaciousness, a feeling of luxury and a connection to the external environment, and that is exactly what the CHT Architects and Sora teams have created at the St James Park Residences,” says Curtis.
Generous fenestration; access to communal and private outdoor spaces, either via balcony or rooftop terrace, depending on each apartment’s position within the building; and the installation of planter boxes to these private outdoor areas, are a few simple yet powerful manoeuvres employed by the design team to seamlessly connect the building—and, by extension, its future inhabitants—to its natural surrounds.
“The building presents a commanding presence,” says Mark Spraggon, a director at CHT Architects, who worked closely on the development. It is this inimitable first impression, and the way in which it is “positioned seamlessly within its surrounding context,” that Spraggon attributes with giving rise to the sense of refinement that carries throughout each of the St James Park Residences. From an interiors perspective, “the luxurious and generously proportioned arrival foyer has been designed to impress, with premium quality finishes and a sense of vast open space,” says Chivonne Hollis of Sora Interior Architecture and Design.
“Adjacent to the foyer is a private lounge for residents to entertain guests, a space that combines the intimacy of a private retreat with the versatility of a large entertaining area,” she says. “Residents will also be surrounded by lush garden terraces, and some will enjoy exclusive access to an abundant rooftop oasis.”
Those buyers who purchased apartments off the plan were invited to collaborate with CHT Architects and Sora to customise their apartment to meet their specific tastes and lifestyle requirements, drawing on a variety of zoned living spaces and an elegant palette of natural materials and superior finishes, as well as premium fixtures and appliances.
A holistic, collaborative approach to design was the linchpin of achieving a seamless integration between the building and the adjacent parkland—from which the project got its namesake—and its luscious greenery, winding paths, and heritage features. A concerted effort between CHT Architects and the Sora interior design team, working together in-house, is what made the realisation of such a cohesive design response possible.
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