Nonda Katsalidis, co-director of architecture firm Fender Katsalidis, has won an Enduring Architecture Award from the Australian Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Victorian Chapter.
Katsalidis received the award for the Melbourne Terrace project. Completed in 1994, Melbourne Terrace was one of the first new apartment buildings constructed in the city, paving the way for urban regeneration at the time.
Innovative for its time, the project represented the commencement of a new wave of CBD living and multi-residential developments, taking cues from early 20th-century European modernism.
“It’s a strange building in the context of Melbourne and at the time there was not a tradition of building apartments,” says Katsalidis.
“A few years back I was listening to two people try to put into context when it was built and they agreed that it must have been in the 1920s or 1930s. It shows you can’t really put it into a timeframe.
“It’s eccentric, it’s a one off and it took a populist approach on purpose.”
The Enduring Architecture Award honours buildings of at least 25 years of age that are of outstanding merit and that, considered in a contemporary context, remain important as high quality works of architecture.
"Longevity is essential in defining a city's design over a sustained period and it's an honour to be recognised for making such a contribution,” says Katsalidis.
"Melbourne Terrace shows how quality can withstand design trends and still be relevant for decades to come.”
The building is a six to eight storey articulation of four vertical terraces, encompassing various sizes and types of apartments, a small office, retail tenancy and cafe that create activity and interest at street level.
According to the jury, "... it was arguably the catalyst for a renewed interest in city living. The building also helped regenerate its locale, once characterised by run-down industrial properties and low-grade retail offerings. The interplay of order and exuberance extends across the entire facade of the building.
“The classical formality of its predominantly concrete hulk contrasts with the sculptural and ornamental excess bordering on the baroque. This clever play with materiality and scale makes the building feel far less imposing on the street than its size might suggest. The apartments are also well designed, with good resale value twenty-five years after they were completed."
Image credit: connection.vic.gov.au