A new apartment complex in the heart of Melbourne is promising a blend of heritage architecture, contemporary design and ultra-modern technology based living. The first apartment in the Yarra Falls project showcasing this elegant design and state-of-the-art home automation has been completed. Apartment 3 features keyless entry, quality home theatre system, remote controlled appliances and automated lighting, heating, watering and security within a luxury appointed warehouse space created inside the Art Deco heritage listed Byfas Building.Four buildings that were once part of the Yarra Falls knitting mills will form a total 118 homes when the project reaches completion. Fronting the river in Abbotsford, Yarra Falls is a thoroughly planned community incorporating open green spaces and a central piazza and restaurant. Most of the dwellings are north facing with views of the Yarra and Studley Park with subterranean parking used throughout to maximize the available area above ground.Inside Apartment 3 use of mezzanine levels, hidden doors and floating benches under lofty ceilings add to the spacious feel and automated home networking systems are installed throughout.All homes will have the Clipsal C-Bus electrical system installed as standard according to project developer Adrian Pye. "The C-Bus gives Yarra Falls residents remote and local access to a range of systems including automated blinds and curtains, air conditioning, watering, gas heating, the extensive home theatre set-up and security sensors. By calling a central number and entering a pin code you can close the curtains and turn on the air conditioning before you arrive home from work.The C-Bus acts like a central nervous system, controlling all aspects of lighting and use of electricity to optimum efficiency, saving saves power at the same time as catering to your particular needs. Operation is via a touchscreen or personal computer that can be used to program the C-Bus system. The Clipsal Home Minder network, which makes control of devices throughout the house slightly more intuitive, can be added but the existing system is not difficult to operate and flexible enough to cater for almost any configuration of plugs, points and outlets according to Pye.Keyless access is also standard and Pye points out that the centralised system provides many advantages in this respect. One alarm system covers all buildings with each apartment being divided into two zones so security can be "stepped up" as residents move through the complex - everyone who lives in the complex gets in the front door but access to lifts or separate areas is limited to those who live in that section and on the final level, only your card can access your apartment. If a card is lost a phone call can have it deactivated within five minutes - or switched back on again when it shows up behind the couch.Looking after the telephone and data side of things is the Starserve home networking system. Fitted throughout Yarra Falls to compliment the C-Bus technology, Starserve integrates telephone and data outlets into wall outlets, allowing you to plug into the Internet from any room and link computers, printers, telephones and security equipment. Two different phone lines and eight outlets for each line can be distributed throughout and a single signal from Pay TV, video or DVD player can be directed to several televisions in the house. Maximum convenience with minimum clutter is the result and the clean, open theme of Yarra Falls is enhanced by eliminating visible cords.The centrepiece of the home entertainment system is the two metre pull down screen and IKE Projector that fronts the Paralogic amp, DVD player, in-wall speakers and sub-woofers. The big screen can be linked to PC via the C-Bus infrared link that also caters for gaming consoles like X-Box. A Logitech cordless keyboard and mouse is also provided in each apartment so your laptop can be left in the cupboard while you play games, edit video or surf through the home theatre screen.The Byfas building will be the first completed and the first occupants moving in in around 12 months and three other buildings, the Boilerhouse, Loom and Cascade, that complete the entire complex of 118 units is due for completion in mid 2005.
About the Author
Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks.All articles by Mike Hanlon