Fairlie Apartment | Kennedy Nolan

Fairlie Apartment | Kennedy Nolan | Photographer: Derek Swalwell

2024 National Architecture Awards Program

Fairlie Apartment | Kennedy Nolan

Traditional Land Owners
Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation


Interior Architecture
COMB Construction
Derek Swalwell
Project summary

This apartment interior can be found in one of the most celebrated apartment buildings in Melbourne, Fairlie, by the venerable modernists Yuncken Freeman Bothers, Griffiths and Simpson.

The brief was for a downsize apartment for a client transitioning from a large house and garden which came with a lifetime of carefully and intelligently collected art and furniture.

Our first move was spatial, a desire to break down the cellular plan and introduce enfilades which would reveal the triple aspect of the floorplate but also acknowledge the way an apartment can be inhabited as a variegated progression through a continuous space.

Victorian Architecture Awards Accolades
Award for Interior Architecture
Victorian Jury Citation

Award for Interior Architecture

The entry sequence to the celebrated Regency flavoured late-modernist apartment building by Yuncken Freeman Bothers, Griffiths and Simpson, sets in play a palettecleansing, white crushedrock valet drive and sublime white spiral stair – the perfect preparation for experiencing this cinematic apartment reconfiguration by Kennedy Nolan. It’s clear, once stepping into the teal, bronze, and mirrored entry hall, reverberating with a flower-wall photographic piece by Dr Christian Thompson AO, we were in for a sensorial treat. Moving from the saturated entry into the main living space, a tonal shift to a calmer, beige volume highlighted with the tertiary hues of late modernism captures the incredible lens across the Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens, drawing its rich green tapestry of colour across the polished plaster ceiling. This room exemplifies the fulfilment of the client brief, to downsize while holding and celebrating a carefully curated lifetime collection of art and furniture, an interior in the guise of a Wunderkammer. Colour intensity and saturation pick up once more within the intimate sleeping and bathing spaces, where a deft, masterful control of material layering, detail and graphic pop bring a delicious sense of material and spatial delight. 

As experienced clients we felt it was key to give a disciplined and refined brief. In part that was pretty rational and practical.

In response Kennedy Nolan of course perfectly delivered an enlivening series of physical spaces architecturally but almost more importantly a series of intellectual and conceptual ideas. Enlivening and elevating how we see ourselves, the best version of us and how we want to live.

Also noteworthy is the apartment’s elevated and expansive vistas of Melbourne from every room, the interior world had to meet the quality and complexity of its exterior one.

Project Practice Team

Patrick Kennedy, Design Architect
Rachel Nolan, Design Architect
Adriana Hanna, Project Architect
Elizabeth Campbell, Project Architect

Connect with Kennedy Nolan
Fairlie Apartment | Kennedy Nolan | Photographer: Derek Swalwell

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