When Melbourne architect Tisha Lee saw an enormous hidden garden on the corner of Springfield and Orrong roads, she was entranced.
“I immediately thought of the story of The Secret Garden or awakening Sleeping Beauty, and saw an opportunity to pull down the high fences and create lovely garden residences that everyone could appreciate.”
Inspired not only by the site’s garden setting but also the tradition of legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who fused landscape and living, Tisha and her team at award-winning K2LD Architects have designed The Springfield for Melbourne luxury developer Chapter Group.
“Frank Lloyd Wright said that ‘a good building is … one that makes the landscape more beautiful than it was before the building was built’, and that is what we are aiming for here,” Tisha says.
On its substantial site in the heart of Toorak, The Springfield has 19 ultra spacious apartments of 160 to 413 square metres plus private courtyards or terraces from 12 to 278 square metres.
Designed without compromise to include the key ingredients expected by people used to luxury mansions, they offer the space and serenity of a leafy garden setting, expansive living areas with fireplaces, butler’s pantries, laundries and studies, onsen-style bathrooms and generous island benches of up to five metres long. The two penthouses also have wine rooms and media rooms or second studies.
“We have designed The Springfield in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, where the building not only honours and preserves the spirit of its site, but where living and landscape merge,” Tisha says.
“We want to give residents the feel of a large leafy garden around them, with indoor spaces that connect organically to a beautiful garden environment.”
The K2LD design team has taken particular inspiration from the design of Wright’s famous Fallingwater house, with its cascading terraces. Using solid horizontal planes and transparent glass balustrades, they have created terraces for The Springfield that give the impression of being able to fall off the edge into the garden with nothing to block interactions with what is beyond.
With glass walls and floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto private terraces, courtyards and gardens designed by leading landscape architect Jack Merlo, residents in living areas and main bedrooms will feel like they’re cocooned within the landscape.
Jack’s botanical curation will endow residents with verdant, serene surrounds that provide an array of seasonal changes and luxuriant evergreen foliage in the building’s extensive five-metre setbacks and in raised planters.
The Springfield has also picked up on Wright’s idea of entries, of crafting a beautiful threshold between external and internal environments. Residents will approach the building entrance through an intimate, lush landscaped lane protected by a vine-covered pergola; individual apartments are entered through solid timber doors.
Tisha and her team have highlighted further aspects of Wright’s design philosophy in The Springfield through holistic design and use of natural finishes.
“Frank Lloyd Wright was a master craftsman who designed everything from floor to ceiling to fit within the context of the building and its setting,” she says. “We have designed cabinetry and fittings that will be like beautiful pieces of sculpture. The Dada kitchen is designed by Vincent Van Duysen … every single component of The Springfield has been considered, very much in the Wright tradition.”
K2LD also commissioned Melbourne furniture designer Andrew Lowe to design a dining table in the spirit of Wright’s furniture. The solid oak 3.6-metre Springfield table has fluted detailing and can be viewed in The Springfield display.
Wright’s preference for showcasing the inherent characteristics of natural materials in interior finishes is another highlight, with richly toned solid timbers and thick slices of natural stone.
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