Conceived as a taut concrete envelope into which a finely detailed glass and metal form has been inserted, Beacon Apartments is a 6-level building located directly on the beachfront in Port Melbourne. Encased in a fluted concrete structure, 16 apartments cantilever out towards the bay and recede from the courtyard garden to the north. References to finely tuned machinery are made with stainless steel screens and shifting layers of glazing, all elements secured with expressed fixings and fine stainless-steel channels. The overall approach to the architectural language is for a highly detailed building with strong links to modernism and abstraction.
The program is predominantly residential above two offices located at ground floor level and the basement level provides underground parking. The highly visible offices engage with the local culture, providing a presence that contrasts the shipping & recreational uses of Port Melbourne precinct.
Whilst the program demands private usage, public gestures are made on the facades and at street level. One gesture is the abstract sculptural wall to the west façade. Made up of a series of deeply fluted precast concrete panels, the scallops accentuate harsh shadows and light as the sun moves across its surface. At night this wall is activated with a green glow emanating from a recessed glazed slit.
At ground level, the entrance to the apartments is dark and narrow and culminates in a mirrored lift, which accentuates the approach. This entry corridor is flanked by a series of clean-lined offices whose glazed street frontages afford a glimpse of the bay opposite.
A sweeping arc has been cut into the south side of the building at ground level to create a flowering garden. This gesture emphasizes the overhang of the upper levels and provides an area for the sculptural planting as both interest from the street and from within the offices. At a higher level, the illuminated glazed pools feature as a public focus from street and beach level.
The core idea for the apartment planning is to focus on the outlook towards the bay to the south, and to the courtyard garden and city to the north. In response to the bayside weather conditions, balconies to the bay as well as the protected northerly side provide alternative exterior spaces.
The building relies on the use of repetition to deliver high quality and well-resolved elements across all apartments. The planning and forms have been kept intentionally simple in order to maximise functionality in each apartment and in the public realm, without compromising the costing requirements of our client.
Within the context of the pastiche of various architectural expressions along Beaconsfield Parade, this building offers an elegantly refined and understated presence. In response to the imposing structure of the adjacent towers, the concrete envelope is a protective element, wrapping and refocusing the building to the bay and city.