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As far as the eye can see

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With its wide balcony, double-height living space and breezeway terrace, this penthouse apartment maximises its oceanfront location

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Modern luxury is not so much about over-the-top opulence or flashy displays. It is far more likely to involve premium real estate where the location does the talking and the architecture is simple and refined.

The Frangipani apartment complex on Palm Beach in the Gold Coast is a case in point. Developed by Vicpas Pty Ltd and designed by architect Liam Proberts of Fairweather Proberts Architects, the new building is in a prime beachfront location in a community of mainly low-rise houses.

"We have used simple, strong forms, with intersecting fin elements that define the ends of the building," says Proberts. "The larger fins, on the southeast corner, express the light well that accommodates a glass-walled lift."

Although the complex rises six storeys, with one apartment per floor and two levels of basement car parking, there is a residential scale to the building. One wall features decorative, aluminium screens with laser-cut frangipani leaves and branches. These enclose a long breezeway on each floor.

"Rather than having a rear balcony that could become a storage area for beach gear, the screen creates a breezeway that is like a balcony on the inside of the building," says Proberts. "The screen provides shading and privacy for this key circulation area, which forms the entry to each apartment and leads to bedrooms."

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Proberts positioned the main living areas on the southeast side of the building, to maximise the best views. In the penthouse, shown on these pages, the open-plan living space is a double-height volume incorporating stairs to two bedrooms on the upper level. Large bifolding doors open up the entire space to the main terrace.

"It was essential to provide a seamless transition to the outdoor living spaces, which increase the usable area," says the architect. "Open doors to the breezeway and terrace also provide good cross ventilation. And with seating in both these areas, there is always somewhere to sit outside on a blustery day."

A horizontal hood on the terrace provides sun protection at critical times of the day.

The kitchen echoes the simple styling of the rest of the apartment. With appliances along the rear wall, the island functions as a table as well as a food preparation area.

First published date: 01 July 2010

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Credit List

Architect Liam Proberts, FRAIA, Fairweather Proberts Architects (Brisbane)
Developer Vicpas Pty Ltd
Builder CMF Projects
Landscape designer Verge
Cladding Concrete; concrete render
Roofing Colorbond metal deck
Kitchen cabinetry Lacquered white; spotted gum veneer
Benchtops Corian Glacier White
Splashback Calacatta marble
Floor tiles Bianco travertine from Classic Ceramics
Terrace tiles Mirage porcelain from Classic Ceramics
Paints Dulux