Adela Apartments Elwood




Elwood, Victoria, Australia

Traditional Owners





Derek Swalwell

There are cookie-cutter-style apartments and then there are bespoke house-sized apartments, designed for those wanting to scale down or looking for a low maintenance home. Approximately 50 metres from the Elwood foreshore and in a street dotted with many 1930s homes and apartments, the Docker Street development is appealing to discerning end of the market such as those in the penthouse market looking for fine architectural detailing.

The six apartments, two on each level of the three-storey building and each one approximately 175 square metres, sit comfortably in the predominantly concrete facade and a basement car park. Like the many surrounding 1930s homes and apartments, the Adela Apartments, with interiors by Hecker Guthrie, have a presence from the street. With profiled concrete balconies, black chrome stainless steel wrapped columns and operable aluminium louvres on the east and west elevation to diffuse the afternoon sunlight and create privacy for main bedrooms, this development creates an ‘architectural dialogue’ with other period buildings in the street.

With an average 8-star-Nathers energy rating and up to 8.6, achieved with passive thermal design practices such as deep eaves, cross ventilation, thermally broken double glazing and good thermal mass (exposed concrete ceilings), for maintaining a constant internal temperature in both hot and cold conditions. These apartments are not only highly sustainable but designed as the ‘forever’ home. Special care can be seen in their planning, with the two upper levels benefiting from roof gardens. Each apartment also avoids the problem of wasted corridor space and the two bedrooms, including the main, are located on either end of the floor plan, maintaining privacy. A third room, adjacent to the open plan kitchen and dining area, was also provided. Framed by glass doors lined with a curtain, it can be used as a study/home office, a second living area, or an additional bedroom.

Generous wall space to display large paintings, built-in customised joinery to conceal items such as televisions and audio equipment, together with terrazzo and marble finishes in the two bathrooms and kitchen, create a beautifully appointed home. And rather than the floor plan being ‘rigid’, it can easily ‘morph’ into spaces that perfectly suit a number of resident types. As with the area’s many fine period buildings, this new addition fits thoughtfully into this leafy low-level streetscape.