The Lothian Building is a series of residences developed upon a unique island site in North Melbourne. Inspired by its immediate context, the building harks back to the area’s 19th and 20th century manufacturing era, with Kennedy Nolan Architects adding dimension, meaning, and richness to contemporary architectural expression through memory.
The mix of residences within the tower is diverse, with six four-storey plus roof garden strata-titled townhouses and two stacked two-storey apartments, one with a roof garden.The larger units are able to accommodate families, underlining the building’s versatility.
Locally sourced redbricks form much of the building’s facade. It is a direct reference to the district’s industrial history, manifesting familiar, grand scale with texture and fine-grained detail. Kennedy Nolan’s deep study into place and locale has resulted with the redbrick frontage, which is a unique textural choice within a contemporary piece of architecture.
The dwellings are vertical arrangements, which accentuate the sense of threshold as inhabitants ascend the stairs to more private and secured zones and come upon unexpected sectional experiences that offer a sense of spaciousness not typically associated with this typology. Despite the building having minimal privacy and boundary from the street, entries are raised a half level from the footpath to ensure that entryways and ground floor spaces are separated from the general public.
The building’s orientation results in principal elevations to the east and west which in turn suggest the deeply shaded façades to the west. The practice imagines the dwellings to the south as art studios. Large south-facing windows provide an abundance of light sought after by artists, with arched windows recalling the romance of the creation of art. The apartment situated towards the north is suspended in the existing tree canopy elevated above Arden Street. Oriel windows offer views to the street and extend the building’s character to onlookers, who are able to witness the characterful, chic interior of the residence.
The spaces, despite being vertically oriented, are generous in terms of space, volume, and quality, but also in terms of the arrangement of spaces that afford a sense of privacy in a dense urban environment. The living areas are purposely elevated to further prospects to distant views.
An INDE.Awards-nominated building, the Lothian Building is a tribute to the industrial history of North Melbourne. Its redbrick facade reflects the working class history of the area, with Kennedy Nolan Architects aiming to establish clear barriers between the building’s occupants and the street with elevated living spaces. The vertically oriented residences are spacious and rich, with a number of unique floorplans ensuring the Lothian is able to accommodate a number of diverse groupings of occupants.