Flat seekers! Here is the complete answer to modern living: MOONBRIA.
Compact living units:
- electric elevator
- novel features
- free hot water
- lock-up garages
- resident caretaker
- incinerator chute
- free refrigeration
- labour-free kitchens
- wall fold bed
Representing a new departure in flat living, Moonbria will instantly appeal to the flat dweller seeking something really modern and different. Special features include electric elevator, concealed kitchens, writing desks, cupboards and even beds, all of which spring from obscurity at a touch of the hand.
It pains us to say that if we were announcing Moonbria’s grand opening today, we’d have to strike out the mention of free hot water, resident caretaker, incinerator chute and free refrigeration – and labour-free kitchens remains open to interpretation. But the words novel, compact and modern remain as accurate today as they were 75 years ago.
Rather than listing the modern amenities, today’s real estate ads tend to highlight Moonbria’s superb location, just a few minutes’ leisurely stroll from the boutiques and cafes of Toorak Village. Other oft-used words in the lexicon of modern-day copywriters include lifestyle, easy-care, practical and low-maintenance. The canniest agents target their market by mentioning Sir Roy Grounds’ suitably groundbreaking design, inaccurately throwing in the term art deco rather than modernist.
As the high-rise cranes dotting the streets attest, and the air resonates with the judder of demolition crews and pile drivers preparing the way for apartment block elevator shafts and car parks, character is disappearing from our streets. Apartment buildings are increasingly faceless complexes and mini cities, with South Yarra set to join Docklands as an apartment hellhole, where the shadow of a designer let alone architect seems barely to have graced the blueprints.
The Better Apartments project managed by the mellifluously acronymic DELWP (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) and OVGA (Office of the Victorian Government Architect) is responding to the apparent dwindling of design standards since the days of Moonbria’s birth, understatedly noting that 'the lack of standard requirements for internal apartment amenity has resulted in some poor designs and inadequate long-term living environments'. Their consultative group of apartment dwellers has ranged the following as most important when pondering design standards: daylight, space, natural ventilation, noise, energy & resources. To which we’d add beauty, style and flair.
As Professor Michael Buxton from RMIT said so succinctly: ‘Heritage becomes incredibly important for liveability. If you pull down a highly valued heritage city and turn it into a city full of tiny apartments nobody in the city actually wants, it won’t cater to people in the city. If you replace a high amenity heritage city with a low amenity city with high rise canyons then that will reduce the liveability of the city dramatically and alienate a large number of people.’
And as a recent advertisement for a highly sought-after Moonbria apartment put it: ‘In a block that's quirky, retro and utterly unique, here's a studio apartment with a bundle of personality’.