A brick inlay podium created with Rustic Red brick tiles adds warmth and earthiness to a new multi-residential apartment development in Manuka, while connecting the buildings to the existing neighbourhood.
Quality and connection define the Renaissance apartments in Manuka. This highly considered development by Morris Property Group (MPG) is setting a new benchmark in urban living, bringing renewed life to the Manuka precinct and extending the suburb’s village feel.
Split across three sites, Renaissance – when fully complete – will deliver almost 400 apartments across seven buildings.
The first stage – set on the site of the former Stuart Flats public housing complex in Light Street, behind St Paul’s Anglican Church – is already complete offering 93 one, two and three bedroom apartments across six levels. The original 100 apartments allowed on the site was reduced to 93 after some buyers purchased multiple units to have more space and had them redesigned into bespoke single, larger apartments.
“What we found was people are wanting to replicate their home in Forrest, Red Hill or Griffith in apartment living… for some clients we designed one on one to deliver the home of their dreams,” said Geordie Edwards, Senior Development Manager, MPG.
Stage 1 set a high quality standard for the remaining two stages, with design development documentation thoughtfully and creatively completed by Guida Moseley Brown Architects (GMB).
With an interesting diversity of uses around the site – predominantly the neighbouring church, but also residential housing to the south and apartments to the east – GMB has delivered a new building that is more than sympathetic to the surrounding streets, balancing a traditional and modern architectural style, with generous outdoor spaces.
The building’s facade is a mixture of traditional brick mixed with sophisticated white painted precast concrete walls and charcoal window framing, upper level cladding and roofing.
“The church on the corner is a really key element in the landscape, so the building had to address the existing environment. There’s definitely a sleek modern theme but adding brick to it as an earthy element really gives that a nice contrast and they work really well together. The brick is a brilliant relationship to the church and some of the houses on the southern side as well,” notes Rob McLachlan, Architect at GMB.
The podium was created with brick inlay, using Rustic Red brick tiles supplied by Robertson’s Building Products.
“It was a pretty detailed decision in terms of selecting the Krause brick tiles. We were part of that process – so we chose a brick with variation and differentiation in it to give it a bit more warmth and earthiness, and it actually related to the buildings around it a bit better,” Rob remarks.
The upper two floors are set back from the units below, creating generous terraces with views across to Manuka Oval for the larger three bedroom apartments on that floor. Inside, each residence offers quality finishes and fixtures in a choice of three colour schemes.
What sets this development apart is that all of the apartments’ living areas connect to the existing landscape in some way. Throughout the precinct, a number of significant trees have been retained to ensure residents will have leafy views in an urban setting. In Stage 1, one of the most beautiful landscape elements is a well-established Sycamore tree on the northern side, which was retained for the development. In fact, the whole building form was designed to wrap around it, so that all of the units on that side look straight out onto the tree.
A number of inclusions encourage a sense of community at Renaissance. In Stage 1, there’s a large common entry off Light Street containing a space for visitors to wait for residents, and off that there’s a shared gym. At the rear of the building, a generous common area outside, halfway between the surrounding landscape and units, acts as a transition zone to the building. It contains two dark charcoal outdoor canopies, complete with a BBQ and communal tables underneath; a great place to relax and socialise in relationship to the tree. These design elements are maintained throughout the precinct with a number of landscaped open spaces provided to enhance resident amenity.
From an architectural point of view, for GMB one of the most exciting aspects of the facade design is that the whole building has been developed to work with brick rod:
“The floor to floor height of the units has been worked out to exactly work with a brick dimension, so where a normal floor to floor height is 3.1m, in our case it’s 3.188m and that’s a dimension that works perfectly with the brick rod, so it’s almost like the whole building has this brick rod overlaid to it and we have sort of nudged it and organised it so that we’re not cutting bricks in half at the bottom in their horizontal axis, it’s really exciting when you get everything fitting just so.”
“It’s interesting because even though these bricks are brick tiles on precast, you still have the same set of problems; you still need to design the dimensions of the building to work to the bricks because they’re the visible thing that you see on the outside. So, that’s something we’re really proud of because when it’s done well there’s a peacefulness about the development,” Rob reflects.
And done well, Renaissance certainly has been.
A development that has been built within envelopes, height limits, setbacks and floor space ratios, and is still visually appealing is a remarkable achievement.
It’s no surprise that Stage 1 was fully sold at the end of 2022. Stage 2, a smaller, four-storey boutique development of 30 units over four levels on Stuart Street, was also completed in 2022. And Stage 3, the largest of the stages offering 276 units across five buildings fronting Captain Cook Crescent, is due for completion in 2023.
We look forward to seeing the family of Renaissance apartments full of life, bringing new faces and a renewed sense of community to Manuka.
Developer: Morris Property Group
Design/Development Application: Dezignteam
Architect/Design Development & Documentation: GMB Architects
Product: Brick Inlay with Rustic Red Brick Tiles
Builder: Morris Property Group
Precaster: Advanced Precast
Photography: Courtesy Morris Property Group