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    Elenberg Fraser designs new South Yarra building that balances solidity and transparency

    Geraldine Chua

    South Yarra in Melbourne is set to gain a new residential project that embraces the suburb’s Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau architecture, giving new life to the original Victorian Toorak Road retail façade.

    Ralston, a new six storey residential development, is designed by Elenberg Fraser and features three types of configurations. A series of town residences overlooks Caroline Gardens, while a series of two and three bedroom apartments are located above ground level with floor plans from 110sqm up to 160sqm. Penthouses, which only come in a pair, occupy the upper levels.

    According to Callum Fraser, founding director of Elenberg Fraser, the design respects the scale of South Yarra’s early 20th Century architecture, but extends this language to a subtle translation of old to new forms.

    “Central to our proposition for this development has been the need to renovate the original fabric while exploring its architectural detail to inform a new architectural statement. Here we have explored the balance between the solidity and transparency,” says Fraser.

    He adds that the surrounding buildings each have their own personality based on their form and composition, and that Ralston’s façade – which features stone reveals, plaster washes and floor-to-ceiling windows, is inspired by this character.

    Ralston’s façade ‘accelerates’ as it approaches to the ground. There is more architectural rhythm, scale and detail at street level,” Fraser describes.

    “Ralston creates its own light, luminescence and shadow contours.”

    The high period of 20th Century design has also inspired the project’s interiors, including the dark chevron patterned timber floors. Open planned living formats promote an ease in living, and integrated modular bespoke furniture and fittings provide discreet storage and display solutions. The kitchens feature European appliances, composite marble splashbacks and stone bench-tops.

    Elenberg Fraser is also working closely with Melbourne-based industrial designer Christopher Boots to create a specified sculptural lighting design in the lobby of the building. 

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