20 March 2024

Apartment living taken to a new high when Art.haus takes shape in Turner

| Vanessa Hayden
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render of building in Turner

Art.haus in Gould Street, Turner, will offer a style of living not yet seen in the Canberra apartment market. Artistic renders: SPACELAB.

Decades of experience and design input from some of the best in the business have gone into creating an apartment complex that will offer next-level city fringe living when it is built at 1 Gould Street in Turner.

The design process for Art.haus has taken four years to develop into its current form. Painstaking research, peer reviews, past lessons learned, and consultation with the City Renewal Authority, the National Capital Authority, and other government agencies have been part of the refinement process, which has led, says the design team, to a beautifully curated offering.

As apartment living continues to mature, the evolving requirements residents place value on have become more evident. COVID has also influenced what SPACELAB, the project’s lead consultants, considered the essentials.

“Before COVID, we would have designed a different building to what we ended up with, but we looked at what was valuable to people who are basically making a lot more use of their apartment than somewhere just to come home to sleep in,” said David Shearer, the director of projects at SPACELAB.

“I’ve had lifelong exposure to the apartment market in Canberra, and I think it’s very rare to find something that is really well considered, where it’s obvious a lot of energy and effort went into not only its design but also its build and then how it’s maintained later.”

David has spent 35 years designing and marketing apartments. He laughs that he’s now the target market for these luxury dwellings – late 50s, children grown up, and now questioning the validity of ‘rattling around’ in a large ‘ex-family’ home.

His own search for potential new digs highlighted some important elements that have been integrated into Art.haus’s design.

“We’ve applied a much deeper focus on what we call the arrival experience, knowing that maybe people are going to spend more time in their apartment than has been the case in the past.

“We want people to experience that warm and endearing feeling of really loving coming home. It’s not about walking into a run-of-the-mill apartment block; when you walk into this building, we want it to feel special.

“We also looked at people who were considering leaving that family home. This was a big thing – if you are ready to leave your home, what has prevented you from moving into an apartment?”

With completion expected in early 2026, interested buyers can now take a closer look at what the nine-storey building entails and how it has flipped the script on the typical apartment. A display suite is open on site where you can touch and feel a full-sized kitchen and view all the fixtures and fittings, floor plans and renders of the one, two and three-bedroom options.

SPACELAB is currently in the process of appointing a curator whose role will be to create part of the new benchmark for apartment living by choosing and installing a range of creative pieces from local artists. This collection will find its home within the façade, entry lobby and common spaces, including lift wells and corridors.

It’s an important extension of the overall design, which has been given the Midas touch by highly accomplished local architect Nathan Judd, known for his work on Yamaroshi, Nibu and Branx, and the streetscapes of Lonsdale and Mort streets.

“We engaged Nathan Judd as the lead architect, based on his book of work across the tram tracks,” said David.

“We also had a team of interior architects and a whole peer review process where we were going out and reviewing with potential buyers and finding out what we were doing right and what we were doing wrong.

“We ended up having double vanities in not only the three-bedroom apartments but also every one-bedroom apartment, which is a bit unusual.

“We’ve also got a bathtub in every apartment, which is, once again, really unusual. I don’t think another building in Canberra has been built in the last 20 years with a bathtub and separate shower in every apartment.”

David likened the quality of Art.haus to that of a high-end luxury vehicle.

“Our focus has been on ensuring that all of the apartments have the level of amenity you get when you buy a Mercedes, for example. You don’t have to buy a big Mercedes to get the design finish; you can get a small Mercedes and still have a plush car.

“We felt there is a market for people who want a premium, very well-considered outcome without necessarily having three or four bedrooms.”

The building is pet-friendly, and the larger two- and three-bedroom apartments have a double garage in the basement.

Interior design elements include stone, timber and tiled finishes, and there are three colour palettes to choose from.

Selling agents Independent Property Group say Art.haus is a welcome change in design philosophy.

“There is no gawdiness or unnecessary bling here,” said Independent’s director Chris Uren.

“Even though there is a high level of inclusion, it’s all in the architectural design, with off-form concrete ceilings and artwork brought into the built form and common spaces. It is all incredibly well-considered.

“This will be unique to Canberra and offers a location second to none.”

It’s on the doorstep of the vibrant life in Braddon, the city to the east, and the tranquil streets of Turner to the south, east and north. It’s a two-minute walk to the Sullivans Creek green belt running north to south and Haig Park from west to east.

“There’s nothing like living in the city. You’ve got the quiet of your apartment and a lovely outlook onto trees and movement. However, you are in the thick of things and being able to just say, ‘let’s wander into the city for dinner’ is really nice,” said Chris.

“You can have an entree at one place, a main somewhere else and a cocktail or two on the way home.

“Some apartment blocks can be a bit too hectic, but from Art.haus, you can walk across the tram tracks, and you are in Braddon. I think this will be a big drawcard for residents.”

So, who do you entrust to build such a landmark property?

“This was another critical question,” said David.

“We have chosen Construction Control. They are considered one of the more experienced builders in Canberra, have a well-established, highly regarded reputation, and have been around for a long time.

“They are not a builder we are concerned about in any way. For them, it’s all about the quality of the product. They are an A-tier builder and very picky about who they select to work with. They vetted the development team and the quality of the design.”

Find out more at Independent Property Group.

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