Fremantle’s 19 Douro is one of WA’s most environmentally-friendly residential developments. 

The development achieves a 4 star energy rating rating with apartments achieving up to an 8.7 NatHERS star rating. 

Moreover, 19 Douro pushes the design envelope and has become a landmark of the South Fremantle landscape.  The architects have captured Fremantle’s industrial, alternative flavour but in a contemporary manner that draws inspiration from the raw warehouse-style aesthetic the area is synonymous with.

On the ground level, the development comprises five commercial suites and on the first and second floors are 20 modern studios, one and two-bedroom apartments.  A clear separation between the residential apartments and commercial suites offers residents greater security while the commercial spaces have been deliberately positioned along the street boundaries to maximise their exposure and shield the secure parking facility from view.

Pushing the sustainable envelope with Fremantle’s stunning adaptive reuse multi-residential build

The building’s external material palette is rustic and urban. It consists of a mixture of raw materials including recycled red-bricks, exposed steel beams, anodised aluminium, corrugated iron and green walls giving the building its industrial and distinctly “Fremantle” warehouse vibe.

The existing site was a derelict former bottle shop with zoning of Neighbourhood Centre. It was an eyesore at the end of Hulbert Street famous for sustainability and community engagement.

One of the main design principles was to create an iconic building that clearly identified itself as a Neighbourhood Centre, but at the same time was sensitive to the existing residential streetscape.  The building has been designed to exude a distinctly Fremantle ‘flavour’ and exemplify the existing sustainability characteristics of Hulbert Street.

Pushing the sustainable envelope with Fremantle’s stunning adaptive reuse multi-residential build

Another main design principle was to create an ‘Internal Street’ within the residential component of the building that links all apartments and acts as a ‘communal heart’ to the building. The large volumes, abundance of natural light and cross ventilation make the journey to the apartments open and safe.

A local artist was engaged to complete the artwork on the exterior and interior of the building.

The architect worked hard with an extensive group of engineers and consultants to achieve the desired outcomes.  An innovative consultant team that utilised BIM software was essential.  A lot of consideration was taken into expressing the raw materials whilst hiding some services and expressing others. 

Pushing the sustainable envelope with Fremantle’s stunning adaptive reuse multi-residential build

Expressing structural elements externally and internally was a major part of the concept. The curved structural beams frame and divide the apartments along the west elevation. These were not structurally required but were essential to the visual composition of the building.  This aesthetic was continued through the interior of the building in the common areas and apartments. Structural beams frame and divide the entire length of the polycarbonate wall in the internal street.

The 2F walkway’s steel structure is exposed and celebrated.  Stairs and balustrades were all custom designed to continue the industrial theme.  The glass block bridge allows natural light from the second level to filter down to the level of the ‘Internal Street’.  Apartments have exposed steel features including beams above internal sliding doors, trusses to courtyard apartments and Spandek clad feature walls.  Structural beams were used as shelving in bathrooms.

One of the main design principles was to work with these tight floor areas and create spaces that felt open, light and unrestricted.  In order to achieve this, a sense of volume and continuity was applied wherever possible.  The 2950mm high concrete ceilings in the main living areas, coupled with full-height glazed panels allows ample amounts of natural light to flood into the main living area.  

Pushing the sustainable envelope with Fremantle’s stunning adaptive reuse multi-residential build

Another requirement of the brief was to provide a flexible space as the second room of the two-bed apartments.  The retractable sliding doors allowed flexibility and purchasers were offered upgrade options of frosted glass, full height storage, study or fold-down bed.

The integration of the indoor and outdoor living spaces of the apartments was an important part of the brief.  The floor to ceiling sliding door and the continuation of floor tiling and ceiling from inside to outside has enhanced this continuity between these spaces. 

First floor balconies were clad in a custom operable perforated screen.  The sliding doors are separated into bi-folding pairs and each pair can run individually along the track.  This allows the screens to be placed into multiple arrangements to suit the resident which further creates a random configuration to the external elevation.

Environmentally friendly products were used where possible to achieve the green star rating. 


Strip lighting was installed as artwork in the lobby on the 3-storey recycled brick wall and within the beams behind the curtain wall to accentuate the large volume.  Lights in the ‘Internal Street’ were selected to emphasise the theme of the ‘internal street’.  Strip lighting was fixed within the PFC edge beams of the 2F walkway to expressing the exposed structure as required in the brief.  

All light fittings (apart from recessed downlights) in apartments were a black finish to continue the warehouse aesthetic.  This also ensured the lights stood out from the white/ concrete ceilings making them a feature.  Adjustable lights on tracks were installed in living areas to allow flexible use of space.                     

Plumbing Fixtures

Water wise plumbing fixtures were included throughout which added to the building’s green star achievement.  Matte black finishes continued the warehouse aesthetics. 


Energy efficient appliances were selected.  Appliances were European to help marked the high-end product with superior finishes. 


Earthwool insulation was used instead of fibreglass insulation where possible. 


Daikin reverse cycle systems were installed.

From the outset, passive solar design principles were incorporated into the design taking advantage of natural light, cross ventilation and winter sun. This coupled with low energy lighting and appliances, water-wise plumbing fixtures, gas cooktops, low toxicity finishes, high performance solar glazing, high-performance thermal insulation and a centralised hot water system, makes 19 Douro Road extremely environmentally sound.  In addition, the development also achieves a 4-Star Green Star energy rating across the entire building making it one of Western Australia’s most environmentally-friendly residential developments, at time of completion. 

In this day and age sustainability matters and with the apartments achieving up to 8.7 Stars under the NatHERS Energy Rating System, 19 Douro Road embraces a ‘green’ ethos.  Double glazing was offered as a purchaser upgrade that many took advantage of which increased their rating above the documented ratings. 

Not only is it eco-friendly, it’s also filled with technologically advanced features. A car-stacker saves space in the carpark and smart metres combine residents’ electricity, water and gas bills into one convenient statement. Better still, this system allows residents to track their individual usage and the usage of the entire building online.

With an un-negotiable maximum wall height, all second-floor apartments were required to be hidden in the roof space.  All walls were angled away to from the boundary and clad in the same profile and colour of the roof sheeting.  This clever solution allowed Motus to overcome the height restriction.

Pushing the sustainable envelope with Fremantle’s stunning adaptive reuse multi-residential build

Providing natural lighting into the land-locked bedrooms was a problem that needed to be solved with the longer apartments facing Hulbert Street.  We went through several options and came up with the solution of adding light wells between mirrored apartments.  First floor apartments were given a small courtyard with full height glazing which included a hinged door and operable awning.  Second floor apartments had high level operable awning.  Despite the light wells being quite small, a large amount of natural light floods into these bedrooms. 

To achieve the desired aesthetic of high exposed concrete ceilings, hiding services within the slab was important.  We worked closely with all consultants in order to achieve this.  Concrete slabs thicknesses had to accommodate hydraulic pipe runs with their required falls.  Suspended ceilings were dropped over wet areas and kitchens to conceal mechanical and hydraulic services. 

Pushing the sustainable envelope with Fremantle’s stunning adaptive reuse multi-residential build


External walls, Facades

  • Recycled Bricks Pty Ltd, wire cut, rolled motor joints
  • Concrete block, raked mortar joint
  • BlueScope, Colorbond Metallic Steel, colour Astro, profile Lysaght Custom Orb
  • Ultragroup, Equitone, Tectiva, TE20
  • Anodised Aluminium

Glazed Doors & Windows

  • Apartments Windows & Doors, Concept Windows, Evolution 35 Series Commercial Window & Door Suite, powder coated Dulux Previous Bronze Pearl
  • Apartments Sliding & Stacking Doors, Concept Windows, Evolution 40 Series Commercial Window & Door Suite, powder coated Dulux Previous Bronze Pearl
  • Commercial Windows & Doors, Concept Windows, 100x40 Centre Glaze Commercial Window & Door Suite, powder coated Dulux Previous Bronze Pearl

Glazed Louvres

Interior Walls

  • BlueScope, Colorbond Metallic Steel, colour Astro, profile Lysaght Spandek
  • Recycled Bricks Pty Ltd, wire cut, rolled motor joints


  • Tiling (Living & Dining, 1F Balcony) – Myaree Ceramics, Verse Cloud: Natural, 200x1200 & 300x1200
  • Tiling (Bathroom) – Myaree Ceramics, Basaltina: Lappato, colour dark grey, 300x600
  • Engineered Tiling (2F Balcony) – Myaree Ceramics, Aextra 20, Grausten, 600x600
  • Carpet – Doug Buckey’s Carpet Court, Impressionist, colour Flint

Door Hardware


  • General – JSB Lighting (multiple styles), matt black finish generally
  • ‘Internal Street’ Wall Light – Subiaco Restoration, Albany, large

Plumbing Fixtures

  • Tapware – Phoenix Tapware, Vivid Slim Line Oval range, matt black finish
  • Accessories – Phoenix Tapware, Radii range, matt black finish
  • Toilet Suite – Caroma, Urbane WFCC BI S/C
  • Urinal – Kohler, Steward Waterless Urinal, colour white
  • Basin Type 1 – Reece, Kado Aspect 1200 Solid Wall Basin
  • Basin Type 2 – Caroma, Teo 800mm Wall Basin
  • Basin Type 3 – Caroma, Left Hand Shelf Wall Basin
  • Kitchen Sink – Abey, Lago Single/ Double Undermount Sink


  • General – Winnings Appliances, AEG
  • Dishdrawer – Winnings Appliances, Fisher & Paykel, Single Standard/ Tall Fully Integrated Dishdrawer


Stone Benchtops

  • White – Technistone, colour Crystal Diamond, polished finish
  • Black – Dekton, colour Domoos, matt finish


  • Roof – Bradford, Anticon 55
  • Ceilings – Earthwool Ceiling Insulation Batts, R4.0
  • Wall (Brick) – Kingspan, Air-cell Permicav
  • Wall (Concrete Block) – K17 Board, 35mm & 50mm
  • Wall (150mm Framed: Vertical) – Bradford, Envirseal Wall Wrap & Bradford, Gold Wall Batts, R2.5
  • Wall (150mm Framed: Raking) – Bradford, Anticon 55 & Bradford, Gold Wall Batts, R2.5
  • Wall (64mm Framed: External) – Earthwool External Wall Insulation Batts, R1.8
  • Wall (64mm Framed: Internal) – Earthwool Internal Wall Acoustic Insulation batts, R1.8

Images: Supplied

Client: Motus Property
Site Size: 2110m2
Address: 19 Douro Rd, South Fremantle, Western Australia