Alcaston House

Image of Alcaston House, Journal of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects, 1932

Hodyl + Co work from Alcaston House, a heritage-listed Renaissance Revival building designed by A&K Henderson. This 1929-30 landmark at 2 Collins Street is one of Melbourne’s first purpose-designed mixed-used buildings.

Alcaston House was developed at a time when the red brick suburban dream was the predominant Australian housing typology. The multi-storey residential building introduced a high-quality, inner-city living option to Melbourne, that was placed closed to public gardens and sensitively designed for expansive views and warm natural light spilling into every apartment. The lower two floors were dedicated to commercial suites in the burgeoning Collins Street medical precinct.

A 1932 review in the Journal of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects highlighted the congestion and transport difficulties associated with the rapid growth of Melbourne’s suburban dwelling population. The article explains ‘the solution lies in more intensive development of residential areas nearer to the heart of the city by building of multi-storied apartment houses.’ In drawing upon American and European examples, the architects advocated for introducing purpose-designed mixed-used buildings in the CBD to provide generously designed apartments within walking distance of people’s places of work, and as forward-thinking solution to accommodate a growing population.

Today the building is populated with an eclectic mix of businesses – architects, dentists, publishers, education professionals – and residents, in a contemporary realisation of the original vision. Almost 90 years since the building’s completion, Alcaston House continues to offer a progressive model of urban living and working.

A &K Henderson’s legacy of advocating for highly liveable urban environments is echoed in Hodyl + Co’s agenda for creating well-designed, sustainable cities. We share our studio space with other city-shaping thinkers - connected by common interests in the urban fabric of our cities, and the morning rays through our Spring St windows.