The Upper House project is a seventeen storey apartment building with a bold composition conceived as a series of urban design gestures. It volume is anchored to the west along what we have termed Swanston Street’s “line of continuity”, and to the east along Queensbury St. This combined mass is fragmented by a ‘ravine’ that provides an naturally ventilated breezeway where occupants access their homes. Across the upper and lower facades a scattering of balconies and windows give the building an engaging three dimensional quality, through varying cantilevered depths and alternating window placements.

One important compositional element in the project is the programmatic activation of level eleven as a communal space that incorporates a lounge, gymnasium and dining space that overlooks a garden roofscape. "The Observatory" is a place where occupants can meet, rest, read, eat, and reflect. The mirrored soffit to the upper form creates reflections of the gardens and social activity, providing a visual cue to the elevated garden from street level.

The upper form is composed of a white glass curtain wall that suggests a more ephemeral lightweight gloss surface, offset against the matt concrete base. The contrast between the lower and upper mass amplifies the sense of a formal break and the idea of a building which is floating across the skyline” like a cloud”.


AIA Victorian Architecture Awards - Best Overend Award Multiple Housing

AIA National Architecture Awards - Frederick Romberg Award for Multiple Housing

Architizer A+Award - High Rise (16+ Floors)


e-architect – Upper House in Melbourne2001



Gross Floor Area:

110 aparts, 2 commercial tenancies, 17 levels




Rincovitch Consultants / ALA Consulting Engineers

General Contractor:

Hamilton Marino


John Gollings, Shannon McGrath