Working within the confines of a heritage listed building and remaining true to the past, Luke Fry Architecture and Interior Design have created The George Penthouse, a dwelling that sits high above the ground in the St Kilda sky that offers views of a bustling township and the nearby coastline.
The existing building that hoists The George Penthouse into the air is The George Hotel, a landmark 1880s building that was once a stopover for travellers from Melbourne, due to its proximity to the St Kilda train line. The building is now heritage listed, and its prime position laid the platform for The George Penthouse to be born.
Client Sean Cummins, a well-travelled local of the area, came to Luke Fry with the inspiration of cities around the world. The goal was to create something unique, an additional layer of intrigue for the people below that looked at the original building inquisitively. Ultimately, this goal was achieved, with the penthouse a premium living space that was carefully moulded in line with the original building.
As Fry tells it, the construction of the penthouse wasn’t a simple brick and mortar approach.
“Architecturally the penthouse façade conceived in both concrete and natural stone, was designed in a series of scalloped columns that reflect the rhythm of the original façade and parapet of the original building which can still be seen from Fitzroy Street.”
The penthouse is 500sqm in size, and possesses views of the Melbourne CBD six kilometres up the road, and the beach towards the south. A succession of floor to ceiling windows ensure a 360o view is uninterrupted, with an open rooftop deck further enhancing the experience with an outdoor entertainment terrace and a wall strategically positioned for movie projection.
Cummins says the design pays tribute to some of the biggest cities across the world.
“(The penthouse) brings to life the features of the original 1925 design. It will be very New York—with the explosion of exciting rooftops on otherwise unanimated buildings— brought to Melbourne.”
Remaining sensitive to the building’s original character while responding to the progressive, ambitious brief meant that the design process involved extensive consultation with heritage specialists and logistical planning to minimise disturbance to other occupants and the public.
Given full creative control, much of the onus was on Fry to deliver a penthouse of monolithic proportions. A task he didn’t shirk, the end result proof that diamonds form under pressure.
“It raises the bar for living in St Kilda - especially penthouse living - as there would only be a handful of properties globally that would tick all the boxes this does. A beautifully designed architectural penthouse of this quality, scale, heritage context and with these views also adds to the neighbourhood’s character and appeal.”
Six floors up, The George Penthouse is a fitting tribute to the lavish lifestyle afforded to those living within metropolitan penthouses across the globe. Remaining true to its roots, it sets a new precedent, and one that Fry and his team will happily look to replicate again when tasked with a new project.