SC Land is far from the typical developer if there is such a thing. Established by Lance Chu, an architectural graduate from Harvard, and his life and business partner Chenghan Tan, its business model is in the vein of Mies van der Rohe, where ‘less is considerably more’. “We only work on one development at a time and sometimes that takes a number of years. We want to deliver projects we can see ourselves living in, with an emphasis on quality, which often takes time to achieve,” says Chu, who refrains from using the word ‘legacy’. “You could definitely say our hallmark is understated and avoiding the showy. Our goal has always been to contribute beautiful buildings to the city rather than simply leaving a grand monument to us behind,” he adds.

SC Land’s latest development, ‘Esplanade’, conceived in two stages, sums up Chu and Tan’s approach. Designed by award-winning architects Wood Marsh, the Brighton Beach development on Esplanade Brighton, overlooking Port Phillip Bay, provided the perfect opportunity to create something that was truly special. Stage one, comprising existing townhouses, with rooftop terraces, takes advantage of the coastal environment. The townhouses also respond to the relaxed and informal nature of living a stone’s throw from the beach. Light timbers, including teak battened screens to diffuse light, complement the palette of pale timber used for the interior. In time, the exterior will fade to a silvery grey. And to strengthen the connection to the beach across the road, a central driveway ensures that on leaving one’s home, there are unimpeded views to the blue horizon line in the distance.

Two separate buildings of Stage two of only 11 apartments will shortly accompany the existing townhouses, with verdant gardens designed by landscape architects Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TLC). One will comprise four units, while the other will include seven varying in area from 225 to 450 square metres, the size of a detached house. And to create two distinctive addresses of 26 & 28 Esplanade Brighton Beach, one building is rendered, while the other will be clad in zinc. “We could have developed the site with 150-odd units, all identical. But it’s not difficult to find this typology in Melbourne. And we strongly believe that approach wouldn’t do justice to this important waterfront site,” says Chu.

The curvaceous forms designed by Wood Marsh Architecture create unique spaces which respond to the beach environment. These high-end dwellings include features found in prestige homes & apartments: Turkish baths, private garages, bespoke fireplaces, steam and regular ovens, are integral to the design. “People purchasing these apartments are leaving behind large family homes. They don’t want to have to put these things into storage and they want generous-sized homes that can accommodate their large paintings for example,” says Kay & Burton Projects Director Damon Krongold, pointing out gallery-like corridors.

Chu prefers to think of SC Land as ‘artisans’ rather than developers. “We like to work with great architects and other creatives who take enormous pride in what they do,” says Chu, who is captivated by the way Wood Marsh Architecture ‘sculpts’ curvaceous spaces. “Randal (Marsh) and Roger (Wood) truly understand what curves can achieve spatially, treating architecture more as sculpture than two-dimensional graphics,” he adds.

Unlike many new ‘cookie-made’ apartments, our apartments are unique, with distinct floor plans. The ground floor units with porthole windows, that offer a sanctuary-like environment with striking bay views. If one looks at SC Land’s portfolio, there’s a quality and commitment to delivering projects that will stand the test of time. “We work very hard with our architects and builders to ensure the best quality of construction and details are maintained & the finished product must stand up to the scrutiny of our intelligent purchasers who immediately recognize quality of design” says Chu

Arriving in Australia in 2000, after working in Hong Kong for four years, Chu and Tan were spellbound by the water views unique to cities Down Under. “The water, the beach and the casual healthy lifestyle Australia has in abundance, inspired us to achieve the best architecture here,” says Chu. To create a development such as Esplanade almost two decades later is both an achievement and succeeds in accomplishing SC Land’s vision to add to the great architectural legacy that Melbourne has become renowned for.

Images courtesy of SC Land

Lifestyle & Design

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