Lantern is a nine-storey apartment building in the vibrant Melbourne suburb of Collingwood, designed to “challenge the mundane”. Its veiled volume reaches elegantly upward, offering residents sheltered, yet generous, views over the surrounding rooftops to the north and the city skyline to the south. 

architecture melbourne


Consideration of both the current built context adjacent to the site as well as projected future development of the area drove the realisation of the building footprint. Set-backs were introduced along the northern and eastern part of the site to respect the current street surrounds and floorplates were stepped back where relevant to accommodate proposed neighbourhood structures.

architecture melbourne

In response to its location, Lantern is unabashedly unique yet still weaves subtle elements of its surrounds throughout its form. The striated lines of the white façade, sheltering the balconies within, provide a soft counterpoint to the harshness of the housing commission residences opposite.

architecture melbourne

The curved white lines of the setbacks and rooftop mimic the curves of church buildings seen from further up the street. Wide arches within the building’s veil at ground level provide large span openings for the building’s entry and ground level apartments, and present an activated and engaging street level interface. They also allude to the arched openings of nearby Victorian era buildings along Wellington Street such as St Martin’s Church and St Joseph’s Parish.

architecture melbourne

Mindful of the significant and thriving location, Lantern’s apartments are designed to be a haven of privacy and retreat while still engaging with the streetscape and providing easy access to one of Melbourne’s most vibrant and colourful suburbs. Sheltered behind the façade, the apartments and balconies are private and airy. The ground floor apartments are protected by repeated arches and patterned steel fencing which allows for privacy and light even on this busy intersection.

From a community and social perspective, the amenity of the building occupants was a prime consideration in developing the format of the building. Perhaps not overly common in apartment buildings throughout the area, Lantern’s design encourages chance encounters between residents with its communal secure bike parking and excellent rooftop garden facilities.


The location of Lantern, opposite housing commission, was a difficult hurdle to overcome in terms of receiving permits. The design had to truly be exemplary. Approval was granted at VCAT for two extra storeys which was groundbreaking. This had not been done in the area previously and meant that Lantern now sets a precedent for other developments in the area. Ultimately, the design delivered visual eccentricity and makes Lantern an unmissable addition to the existing ribbon of markers along Wellington Street and a unique beacon of life in Melbourne’s ever-changing cityscape.

The use of post tensioned concrete slabs for the apartments presented challenges during project delivery. Plus worked with the builders, engineers and façade manufacturers to deliver an innovative solution to create a fixture detail which allows crease lines in the PT concrete to be lined up. The result is that the outside looks perfect, whilst the internal fixtures have had to be lined up differently to ensure the façade ultimately lines up.


architecture melbourne

  • For 70 percent of the apartments, living rooms and private living spaces receive a minimum of three hours direct sunlight between 9am and 3pm mid-winter
  • External shading is provided to reduce solar heat gain on the façade during the summer months
  • Preliminary modelling indicated that apartments achieve NatHERS rating of 7 stars (on average)
  • Development included high-efficiency LED lighting to apartments and common areas and new generation T5 to carparks, plant rooms and stairwells
  • Inclusion of ‘waterless landscaping’ throughout the building. A 7kL rainwater tank was provided to replace potable usage where possible with sizing based on rainwater study (100 percent STORM rating achieved)
  • To allow for natural cooling through Melbourne’s modern oceanic climate, cross ventilation and ventilating hallways were included
  • There was limited usage of high embodied energy metals and materials
  • The project substituted Portland cement with industrial waste/oversized aggregate where appropriate
  • Timber was re-used, post-consumer recycled timber or Forestry Stewardship Council Certified was incorporated where feasible
  • Design of the secure cyclist storage provided a ratio of one bike rack for every apartment, encouraging the usage of sustainable forms of transport. Fuel efficient vehicle parking was also provided