Fitzroy's Newest Residential Project Listens To Lyrical Design Inspiration


The site of one of Melbourne’s first theatres in Fitzroy will soon play home to a new residential project, whose design will pay homage to the rich history of its location.

On the corner of Gore and Johnston Street, in the heart of the north’s golden triangle, will sit The Lyric and its 155 apartments designed by architecture firm Hayball.

The Lyric's developers, SMA Projects, have carved a name for themselves in Fitzroy after completing two other projects before The Lyric - Veludo and the Yorkshire Brewery. They also have plans for a third project in Gore Street following The Lyric.
The design
Hayball used the industrial roots of the site, together with hints of the old Lyric Theatre’s design scheme, to create a new architectural form that nods to the past while providing a contemporary lifestyle for its residents.

The lobby of the project references the theatre through double-height ceilings that, according to Hayball, "accentuate the entry’s sense of drama and build anticipation for the journey ahead". Red brick and concrete flooring extend into the space referencing the brickwork façade.


Hayball Senior Associate Bianca Hung said the history of the theatre influenced the design in subtle ways, however the focus was the experience of the end user, with an open, flowing layout.

“We centred the design around an intelligent use of space. The location of the project affords incredible views over Fitzroy and the Melbourne CBD, so aspect and orientation were strong contributing factors,” Hung said.

“We integrated floor to ceiling windows in the open living spaces to take advantage of this opportunity and the let the light flood into the apartments.”

“The heritage of the site also let us interact with the history of the Lyric theatre, which we did through quiet accents that touch on the theme without letting it overwhelm the project.”

The communal amenity at The Lyric has also proved a strong drawcard for future residents, being designed to reflect the modern, engaged lifestyle of Fitzroy’s community. A conservatory with double height windows, and communal dining facilities provides residents the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine in the sunshine or entertain friends in a beautifully-appointed space.


These grand windows overlook the garden, with landscaping by Tract that uses creeping vines, lemon trees, wisteria and lavender to bring the space to life. Residents that want to interact with the outdoors can potter in the herb garden with rosemary, oregano, Vietnamese mint and thyme, while those with a penchant for cooking can use the fresh produce for their nightly dinners.

SMA Projects Development Manager Robert Murphy said the vision for The Lyric was created by a think tank that included architects, planners and a creative team to look for innovations sought by future residents“We look to appeal to those who will actually reside within the property. The vision is for those people and it’s important the vision appeals to them,” Murphy said.

He said all aspects of the development must relate to each other for it to be successful.


“Fitzroy itself is known for its vibrant entertainment scene, with one of the densest allocations in Australia of bars, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and galleries. Located only 2km from the city, with high connectivity via public transport, the suburb attracts a high volume of trendy millennials, affluent couples, and engaged creative types,” he said.

“The cohesive design of The Lyric reflects the wishes of this cohort. You need to start with high standard of internal spaces, with quality finishes and functional, efficient layouts. This is where it starts and is the most important.

“You then have to look at the surrounding public amenity, such as retail strips, entertainment, parks and gardens, of which Fitzroy has an overabundance including Fitzroy Gardens which was recently recognised as one of the world’s best green spaces by an international jury. The communal spaces offered over and above these are a value add and need to be recognised as a third space that links the property design with the area; you have to get it right.


“We looked at the lifestyles of the people who are attracted to Fitzroy and included additions that would support these – fresh produce, outdoors spaces, and sophisticated entertainment facilities," he said.

One-bedroom residences at The Lyric start from 45 square metres and $410,000, while two bedrooms start from $660,000 and 59 square metres.

All apartments come with storage space, at least one on-grade cark park, shared bike rack and access to all value-add amenities.

The ground floor of the development will also house fine grain retail tenancies including a coffee shop and supermarket.

Two colour schemes are provided – Encore and Matinee, which offer either a more graphic approach or alternatively a subtler scheme.

Encore includes deco-inspired black and white patterned tiles to the bathroom, along with a black bench top and white joinery in the kitchen.

Construction set to commence in the coming months.

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