The Alexander and Albemarle Buildings are undergoing a rebirth.
With an eye to the environmental benefits of repurposing much of the existing structure, the imposing Woden office towers are set to be transformed by the award-winning Doma Group into airy and textural warehouse and loft-style apartments along with diverse non-residential uses activating the grounds of the site.
Built in the mid-1960s by the Commonwealth, Doma will begin a long-awaited activation of this under-utilised central part of the Woden Town Centre.
The impressive concrete structure of the two towers will be preserved and repurposed for lower-density urban living in the heart of the town centre, creating a new “third space” for all of Woden. Much of the architectural effort externally is to harness the strong mass and form of the building while balconies and façade treatments will render the buildings unrecognisable from their current state.
The smaller annexes will make way for a new retail and commercial thoroughfare set around a central and activated mews with the lower structures topped by beautifully conceived apartment amenities including a pool and tennis court.
The development has already attracted a large number of businesses including childcare centres, commercial gyms, gastro pub and brewery, distillers and cafes with further food and beverage businesses to come. Some of the retail and strata office spaces are provided with concrete ceilings soaring as high as five metres, with a genuine industrial warehouse aesthetic providing a unique opportunity for Canberra.
The two buildings will comprise less than 200 apartments between them, all enjoying 3.4 metre ceiling heights and celebrating their raw, industrial overtones, with exposed concrete soffits, brickwork and other textural features. The interiors and spaces will be a deliberate counterpunch to the bland, small, plasterboard boxes that are now common in the market.
The development will have a distinctly European feel and will deliver on the promise of authentic warehouse living featuring genuine industrial features and space.
There are environmental benefits in not demolishing the existing towers, but there are also significant cost benefits. This will be reflected in the accessible price-point with a 1-bedroom apartment starting at approximately $325,000. There is no apartment smaller than 65 square metres and each property is priced with at least one car space (although buyers can elect to buy more or less). The top floor of the building will feature one and two-bedroom maisonettes that emerge over the existing roofline assisting with the rebirth of the buildings.
The ethos surrounding the development is one of reusing and repurposing the Woden landmarks. The look is urbane, the feel organic and raw, with the intent for Canberra’s best innovators to activate the curated open spaces created in the grounds of the buildings.
The Doma Group has grown to become one of Canberra’s most successful hotel and residential developers since its inception in 1974 and is progressing major new developments in Canberra, Newcastle and Sydney. The company behind The Pier, Bridge Point and Dockside in Kingston, Halcyon and Lume in Newcastle, and the award-winning Little National and Realm Hotels in Barton, is turning its focus to its continued development of Woden, having developed the Sirius adjoining Building and Aviation House.