VISION Issue 21 - Page 7

7 CLICK TO VISIT THE STATION HOTEL R ather than ubiquitous tilt-slab box, the development features Viridian’s seraphic glass – made graphic by a microscopic view of human bone – to help sell the story behind its human scale and aspirations. New pavement level retail and super convenient location are among the selling points for this high visual impact project destined to become home to a booming Gen X and Y market. Rather than the lifeless and applied, the seraphic glazing is instrumental in reinvigorating a once bustling pub as a residential haven. Peter Hyatt spoke with project architect and director Robert Ficarra of IMA about the rise of an apartment complex with a bold difference: How difficult is it to work with the fabric of such an old structure? Whenever a project involves a heritage building one of our design struggles is to try and achieve a balance between “respectful fabric” of the old building and introduction of the new. What about the cost of tip-toeing around old bones rather than working with a clean slate? There’s that economic balance to maintain and preserve old structures when building adjacent to, or building into them. And to deal with heritage controls where any proposed building is considered to enable the existing building to stand-alone and remain legible. Any other constraints? It is in quite close proximity to the Prahran Town Hall and the old clock-tower. These elements really influenced the need to respect sightline vistas and the heritage fabric. How quickly did the solution of the patterned glass facade occur? Once those design constraints came into play, the building envelope evolved quite quickly. The design has two flanking components of similar height and scale as the hotel to the streetscapes. Beyond and behind that, is the large glazed facade of the “new” that would contrast and compliment the masonry fabric of the hotel, a program that really delivers a contemporary presence.