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Down by the River – Como Terraces by Carr

The Local Project
April 2022
by Bronwyn Marshall

 

It is rare that a multi-level, developer-driven proposal considers its landscape and surrounds with such intent, but Carr’s Como Terraces is one very well executed exception. Set in South Yarra, fronting Alexander Avenue, the series of medium-density residences are spread across eight individual buildings. Inspired by the idea of central steps running through the landscape and interlocking with buildings and other urban elements, they sit nuzzled together in the existing slope and terrain. From afar, the whole development feels camouflaged with a tonal approach that draws on the existing native vegetation.

While you feel as though you’re stepping through and down a sloping site, you are actually moving through an embedded piece of great architecture.

In collaboration with developers Cbus Property and Sterling Global, Carr worked closely with landscape architect TCL and proposed a series of homes that aimed to blend in, not stand out. While the site itself slopes down towards the river, which comes with its own challenges, the positioning of built and natural elements is the real focus. The neutral and subtly coarse finish of each form is created through the use of custom textured concrete, making the buildings feel like they are emerging from the hill and creating interesting shadows as they engage with the light. Although the site falls at some 26 metres from top to bottom, the overall mass is broken down in such an articulate way that the eight buildings collectively have a lesser impact than first appears. In its own experimental way, the project defies a traditional approach where landscape and architecture are considered separately, or one after the other, and instead embeds the two together and allows each to feed off of one another. It’s usually in the details that are not visible that the most intricate and attentive strategy has taken place, and this exemplifies how careful consideration can make design feel effortless. While you feel as though you’re stepping through and down a sloping site, you are actually moving through an embedded piece of great architecture.

While the site itself slopes down towards the river, which comes with its own challenges, the positioning of built and natural elements is the real focus.