Raw edges: Melbourne’s Elwood House is an exercise in brick and concrete

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Elwood House is Woods Bagot's latest residential development in Melbourne.
(Image credit: Shannon McGrath)

A balanced combination of tactile textures highlights the sensitive approach in this low scale residential project by Woods Bagot. The structure, which sits on the site of an old Retired Service League community hall in Melbourne’s Elwood suburb, consists of a mix of 30 one, two and three bedroom units, designed for Piccolo Developments. 

Drawing from the neighbourhood’s urban context, the architects opted for a restrained material palette throughout, working with brick (which references existing nearby buildings) and concrete, a material the practice has been ‘fascinated’ by, for a few years. The blend of board form concrete and modern brick patterning continues both outside and in the apartments, creating a streamlined effect that feels right at home within the surrounding area’s residential vernacular.

Spanning four levels, the development gets plenty of light inside through large windows, balconies and front yards that create breaks in the façade – yet the pièce de résistance, when it comes to natural lighting, is the complex’s striking brick clad central atrium next to the lobby area. All bedrooms open up towards it and its generous scale and a reflective pond within ensure light floods the depth of the floorplates.

Aiming to create a real community, without compromising the residents’ privacy, Woods Bagot designed the units as independent houses, allowing for lots of outdoor space for each residence to 'breathe'. Inside, the apartment interiors were conceived in partnership with Hecker Guthrie, and feature finely crafted joinery element and metal details, which offset the raw materials used throughout.

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The  brick and concrete building houses 30 residences, and sits on the site of an old Retired Service League community hall.

(Image credit: Shannon McGrath)

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The choice of materials was down to the architects 'fascination' with concrete, and their desire to reference the area's surrounding brick buildings

(Image credit: Shannon McGrath)

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Light comes into the development via large openings as well as a central brick atrium with a reflective pond.

(Image credit: Shannon McGrath)

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All bedrooms open up towards the atrium, which acts as a giant lightwell to enhance natural light in the units

(Image credit: Shannon McGrath)

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Outdoor space in the form of gardens and balconies has been planned for all units. 

(Image credit: Shannon McGrath)

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Woods Bagot collaborated with Hecker Guthrie on the Elwood's interiors.

(Image credit: Shannon McGrath)

INFORMATION

For more information visit the Woods Bagot (opens in new tab) website

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).