One of South Melbourne's newest residential towers extends its leafy motif far beyond its name to include a leaf-screened facade as well as living walls, indoor planters and a lush rooftop garden. The perforated aluminum louvers on the north and west facades of the Elm Apartments provide the interior spaces with critical shading from the Australian sun, as well as privacy. Designed by Melbourne-based Elenberg Fraser Architects, the 252-apartment tower is reflective of the ‘green’ elements of its location between the Boulevard and the Bay. The architectural design and energy efficiency strategies work to enhance the tower's commitment to the environment.
The Elm Apartments are located on Dorcas Street just off tree lined St. Kilda Road. In keeping with the theme of the trees and the surrounding lush vegetation, Elenberg Fraser decided to use the leaf motif throughout. The east side features an elm leaf image woven intricately across the white facade. Meanwhile the west and the north facades feature louvered sunshades that work to create privacy between the apartments and to provide shade from the sun. Viewed from various angles, these fins become leaves dripping from the elm tree. They dramatically reduce the heat load between 12-3 pm ensuring the apartments don’t overheat, and the cooling load is minimized. All the windows are double-glazed with low emissivity directional glazing that appear bronze from the exterior, but clear from the inside.
To bring the outdoors in, a green ribbon works its way into, up and around the building adding nature, improved air quality and improving the microclimates. A green wall around the outside of the ground floor invites you inside leading to another vertical garden inside the lobby. From there you take the elevator up to the fifth floor podium and rooftop gardens where there is a rooftop pool, mod shaded decks, lush vegetation and more green walls. Each two-bedroom apartment enjoys a planter box outside of their master bedroom.
As Callum Fraser, Director of Elenberg Fraser, describes:”The facades employ a subtle, layered architecture that protects the interiors and diffuses the sun through integrated internal/external spaces. The green environment of the precinct is established through vertical gardens that extend the full height of the tower. A garden oasis in the city.”
Images ©Elenberg Fraser