Gardenvale Apartments

Gardenvale Apartments is a mixed use development consisting of twelve contemporary apartments, two retail tenancies and parking. Located close to the intersection of the Nepean Highway and Gardenvale Road, the complex is designed to complement the existing neighbourhood shopping strip with a contemporary form and material palette.

The ground floor offers open and light commercial tenancies and a resident’s entry distinguished by the natural timber wall leading to the formal lift foyer. The upper levels are stepped back to reduce impact on the streetscape and create opportunities for external spaces, flat roof, scale appropriate for location. Inspired by the modern Australian palette, the façade features a combination of concrete, metal and timber highlight the stepped building form.

Over three levels, there are twelve apartments ranging from two bedroom with a study, to two bedroom with balconies. Each apartment is designed for open plan living with modern kitchens connecting seamlessly to living, dining and outdoor areas. The spaces are oriented to maximise natural light creating a feeling of openness and warmth. The external palette is reflected internally with a combination of natural timbers, stone and tile used throughout. Details such as the sleek black fixtures, bronzed mirrored splashbacks and floating timber joinery provide a sense of luxury expected in modern apartment living.

FMSA was engaged by project manager BDS Projects to further develop an existing solution for the site to deliver a cost effective and quality solution. With an existing planning permit in place, FMSA revised the internal planning improving both spatial flow and construction efficiency.  Our architectural and interiors team collaborated to create an interior design concepts and palettes for the apartments.

Fairhaven Residence


2016 Master Builders Victoria Regional Award – Best Sustainable Home

2016 Master Builders Victoria Regional Award – Best Custom House $800K- $1m

2016 Master Builders Victoria State Award – Best Sustainable Home

2016 Master Builders Victoria State Award – Best Custom House $800K- $1m

2016 Master Builders Association National Award – Best Project Home $500K- $1m


The Fairhaven Residence is an example of contemporary coastal architecture in a bushfire prone environment. Nestled in an area of landscape significance on an elevated site in Fairhaven, a Victorian seaside town on the Great Ocean Road, the residence is designed to capture both the ocean view across Fairhaven towards the ocean, and the surrounding bushland.

Utilising expanses of glazing to maintain this connection with the landscape, every room has a view, with the main living and kitchen orientated towards the ocean in one direction and the Split Point Lighthouse in the other. Areas of retreat including the bedrooms, study and courtyard are oriented towards the bushland.

The residence was designed to meet the requirements of Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) 40. This required substantial vegetation clearances and non-combustible external materials.  Our challenge was to overcome these restrictions without destroying the indigenous vegetation and finely tuning the selection of external materials

The solidity of the dark metal cladding and expanses of glazing contrast the lightness and openness of the interior. Accented by the use of sandstone and timber throughout, the muted interior palette frames the view and compliments the landscape.

Being used intermittently, the house needed to be accessed remotely via telephone apps to control entry for maintenance personnel and to activate the roof mounted fire sprinklers via a fire fighting pump connected to the local tank water.

Surrounded by a rustic garden incorporating native grass trees and locally indigenous shrubs that surround the house, the project is finely textured with varied foliage creating privacy where needed and enhancing view corridors to the ocean

This project was the third engagement of FMSA by these clients.  Full scope architectural services were provided.

Monash Uni Student Residences

The West Residences Student Accommodation expands the existing on campus student accommodation at the Monash University Churchill campus (now Federation University Gippsland Campus).

Enveloping a landscaped courtyard, the two separate buildings house 50 student accommodation rooms forming wings. The wings are entered through a central hub with a shared kitchen, lounges and study rooms leading to the individual student rooms with ensuite and the shared laundry room.

The building’s layout and appearance were strongly dictated by the University’s ethos of encouraging a sense of community amongst residents and their focus on sustainability. The palette of external materials was developed to impart the textural qualities of the surrounding rural landscape. Timber is a key component of the building and is used for both the main structural framing and many of the building’s external features.

Kilgour Place Apartments

In 2009 FMSA was engaged by VicUrban (now Places Victoria) to provide masterplanning and architectural services for the redevelopment of the former Gordon TAFE site in South Geelong. The masterplan outlined an infill mixed-use housing project that reinforced a wider city planning objective to create a more highly populated, finely grained belt of mixed use housing ringing and supporting the CBD of Geelong.

FMSA’s masterplan for the 1.4 hectare site outlined a residential redevelopment of the site that included a 30 unit 5 level mixed use complex (Stage 1), 45 3 bedroom townhouse (Stage 2) and 16 apartments in the redeveloped red brick Gordon TAFE building (Stage 2a).

Subsequently, FMSA was appointed as Principal Consultants for Stage 1 of the project resulting in the Kilgour Apartments – a 30 unit mixed use complex designed to meet needs of tenants over 55 years of age. A mixture of one and two bedrooms, the average unit size was 52 m² and 74 m² respectively. 

Adjacent to Kardina Park, the ground floor is occupied by 3 commercial tenancies and a semi-basement carpark, maximising the highly visible corner site.

Portsea House

Located in the seaside town of Portsea, the Portsea House is a modern luxury beach house.  Designed to optimise the panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay, the 4 bedroom home provides all the facilities of contemporary living while incorporating sustainable features, including solar power and solar hot water.

Finishes and materials throughout were selected for their natural and textured characteristics to reflect the natural landscape, including recycled hardwood timbers, sandstone cladding to walls internally and externally, textured woollen carpet and copper clad external walls.  Custom designed features including the artisan sliding door and the light fixtures in the entry vestibule and lounge add to the character of the home.

Connection between internal and external space is maximised through large glass panels throughout the house and the operable louvres in the entry vestibule blurring the sense of enclosure.

Photographer: Rhiannon Slatter Photography

Alpine Residence

Located on the isolated Redbank Plain in Victoria’s High Country, the 210m² Alpine Residence is a modern alpine home. Off the grid, the brief was to design a high quality ‘original’ house appropriate for the alpine climate and remote location, minimise energy consumption and maintenance demands.

Materials and colours include galvanised iron and weather worn hardwood characteristic of the early mountain huts of the region. The building design allows the sun to penetrate its entire width with the concrete floor maximising thermal mass properties of the slab. The single pitched roof meets the essential requirement of stormwater catchment and snow management while minimising possible erosion to the natural hydrology of the site.

The first floor includes 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a living area overlooking the ground floor living room. The linear plan allows all rooms to open on to a northern balcony. The balcony roof is protected by the array of solar panels positioned so that snow damage from the roof is not possible. Other environmentally sustainable elements include solar power with LP gas generator backup and on-site sewerage purification system.

2005 Housing Industry Association (HIA) Building Commercial Victorian Awards

Lucas Residence

Designed and construction managed by FMSA, the Lucas Residence is an example of a modern coastal architecture. Overlooking Davies Bay the residence is designed to capture the views across Port Phillip Bay to the Melbourne city skyline whilst the building form shelters the external deck from the prevailing south westerly winds. Internally, the main living and bedroom spaces are orientated towards the bay utilising expanses of glazing to maintain this visual connection.

Natural Ironbark timber cladding, together with panels of untreated zinc and painted sheet panelling are used externally to ground the home in the landscape. Recycled blackbutt flooring, glazing and neutral palette contribute to a warm natural elegance to the interior spaces.

The residence was designed to meet the requirements of Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) 29. Surrounded by landscaped garden using native grasses and locally indigenous shrubs that surround the building with a finely textured and varied foliage creating privacy where needed and enhancing view corridors to the bay.

Photographer: Latreille Architectural Photography

Laneway House

Located in the inner city suburb of Hawthorn East, the Laneway House is an example of a contemporary infill residential architecture.  As the name suggests, the Laneway House occupies what was an existing laneway beside the clients existing residence and office.

Maximising the spatial constraints of the site, the compact residence spans 3 levels creating distinct zones for living and retreat. A modern angular staircase featuring bold coloured glass panels connects each level offering a point of orientation throughout the home. 

Exterior fibreglass ‘shading matrixes’ fixed to the front and rear façades create a sense of privacy on all levels on the. Heaviest at street level, the porosity of the screens increases on the upper floors as the need for external privacy decreases.

The General Apartments

Located in the heart of the Mt Hotham ski resort, the General Apartments offer luxury all year round accommodation for visitors to the Alpine region.

Situated at the rear of the existing hospitality and function venue, The General Store, the new apartments respond to a need for well-appointed accommodation at the popular venue.

The four two story apartments are oriented to maximise the panoramic views of the valley below. Designing for ‘all seasons’ was an important consideration, with each apartment featuring outdoor decks, open plan living spaces and full height operable windows allowing visitors to connect with the environment in the ‘green’ and ‘white’ seasons.

Designed in response to the challenging site and climatic issues, the apartments were constructed off site using modular construction techniques.

Koomerang Ski Club

FMSA was engaged by the Koomerang Ski Club to provide architectural and interior design services for the design of a new modern ski lodge.

The works involved the demolition of the existing lodge and the construction of a new two level building. The new Lodge provides eight bedrooms, services, a kitchen and dining area as well as a spacious living area with grand views towards the southwest.

Preserving as much of the site’s natural character as possible, all bedrooms and the service rooms are clustered at one end over the 2 levels to form the core of the new building. The living /dining room and the entry area extend the double storey volume towards the south west.

The proposed lodge responds to the surrounding landscape and adjoining with a scale that is kept at a sympathetic level, yet allowing enough space to accommodate the expanded club facilities.

Materiality was a key consideration in the design response. The building is clad in metal cladding to reduce future maintenance costs and respond to bushfire regulations that apply n the harsh Alpine climate. The colour palette is understated, with the dark greys and muted silvers inspired by the colours of the Club’s panoramic views of the surrounding snow gums and alpine landscape.

In response to the growing spatial needs of the Club, the new lodge increases the overall size of the facility from 150 m2 to 434 m2. The result is a lodge that increases flexibility and accommodation capacity, and will encourage ‘all-seasons’ use by club members and meet the Club’s future needs.