89 Bouverie

(89 Bouverie)

Speculative Proposal

Rooms International

Decibel Architecture


We were approached by an established Student Accommodation provider to prepare a design for a recently purchased site at 89 Bouverie St, opposite our home in Pixel. The brief was to produce low cost, no frills accommodation, with a fancy facade, filling a market niche below the high end product surrounding the area.

The approach was to improve the end product for the students without materially increasing the budget. The higher purpose was to extend our design influence at an urban level across this most colourful corner of the city.

This inner city corner is energised by our previous work on dB(A)’s HQ at Pixel, which inspired the colour fantasy of Swanston Square by ARM and was added to with our Bouverie Street apartments waterfall.


Driven by the underlying demand of the rigorous student accommodation design guidelines, we carved the site into a number of smaller blocks to articulate an otherwise squat and cubic block.

Responding to set back requirements, and driven to create a bustling and active outcome, the blocks were twisted slightly and recesses articulated to emphasise the assemblage nature of the work.


Consideration was given to the appointment of Apparition media, to create a wild and wonderful series of ‘imaginary worlds’ in paint on each block.


The ground floor of the building is articulated with maximised street life engagement, re-opening the lane way currently activated by a local cafe. Generous lobbies, seating and places for work and play, including carved connections to lower level gardens and gymnasiums further create a sense of the articulated blocks descending into the ground beneath.


89 Bouverie Street proposes a sophisticated and complex response to the diverse buildings surrounding it, while maximising open space and apartment efficiency. It encourages interaction and shared experiences with the student community and street, and expresses a dynamic arrangement of form and colour in response to its diverse context.