Mixed-use building by Victoria-based practice wrapped in swathes of black
Elenberg Fraser’s latest project ‘lilli Apartments’ is a mixed-use building in the micro-precinct of Forest Hills, South Yara in Victoria. Black ribbons band around a bronze glass façade, calling to mind Gottfried Semper’s theories of architecture as dressing. lilli’s scientific appeal is not just in the analysis of how the mind works across its surface, but the technology behind the high-performing ESD features of the building.
Semper believed that the origins of architecture sprang from the textile arts, from the industrial design techniques of crafts such as weaving, but also from ideas of style and dressing. His view was that a building’s aesthetic, symbolic and spiritual significance resided in its decorative surface, an approach that can be applied as much to the façade as to the dressing of interior spaces.
In form lilli is a square, in elevation rhythmic and pulsating; this organic building has no distinction between tower and podium. The banded façade is so vast that it is read as snapshots, assembled by the mind into a collage of elements. Like a carefully considered ensemble, lilli Apartments demands to be read in the round to truly appreciate the full sensory experience and multi-layered details.
The roughness of the black ribbons warp up, down, in and out act as aerofoils. As they fold down, they create low pressure systems, and when they fold up, high pressure systems. This directs breezes in one window and out of another, ventilating the interior spaces and reducing reliance on air-conditioning. In addition to the black ribbons, a secondary ribbon creates a light shelf that is both aesthetic and functional, helping to balance and reflect light deeper into the single faced apartments.