The General

The General is the first residential building in Australia to use photovoltaic glass on a facade, providing high-quality, sustainable architecture in thriving Northcote. 

Situated on High Street, the inner figurative heartbeat of Melbourne’s north inner-suburban culture, it facilitates easy access to the major activity centre where community and involvement comes in the form of neighbourhood festivals and arts events throughout the year. Now heavily gentrified, entry into the suburb is becoming less-affordable for those seeking to make the community and culture their new home. The General is the first building of its size to offer a response to the High St. area; providing high-quality architecture for new locals in an affordable way. 

We set the precedent early; to achieve a 7 star energy rating for The General. They were also adamant on using the Onyx Solar photovoltaic glass provided by Australian distributors, Environmental Technology Solutions (ETS). This new technology, among several other sustainable solutions were put forth by us to the developer and were successfully integrated into the project. 

The development is affectionately labelled The General, the nickname of Kairouz’s father. Built at the former site of the family’s butcher business, the project honours his journey as a migrant to successful Australian business owner.

It’s memorable design is built upon approximately 2087m2 of land size over 6 titles and comprises of 87 apartments across eight storeys, with three levels of underground basement to service them. The first two levels are dedicated to mixed-used spaces to accommodate street-frontage restaurants, retail stores and offices. Level 3 sees a large setback carried all the way to the seventh level terrace, perched well above the the treeline featuring a communal gym and unhindered views of the CBD. 

The prominent corner location of the site presents a key design opportunity and the architecture seeks to engage by framing and wrapping the corner in a single feature with a curved secondary facade which is glazed with patterned glass that can be illuminated to have a beacon-like effect. This patterned glass is in reference to Kariouz’ father, with a subtle image of a Victorian general on a horse. 

The Onyx Solar photovoltaic glass supplied by ETS across northern facade is used as balustrading that covers an area of approximately 130m2. We worked closely with ETS to develop the product to ensure it could be engineered into a sufficient balustrade with adequate strength and resistance to force. As such, it is the first building the Australia to use the product in this way, and makes a bold statement on what can be achieved with sustainable solutions in the country. 

Technically speaking, it displays a solar factor of 10%, making it an ideal candidate to achieve control over the interior temperature. The product has been proven to yield low-emissivity properties, provide a UV and IR filter, promote natural light, and generate power. Statistically translated, this allows The General to generate 2,075 kWh per year and prevents the release of 1.95 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. This energy may be used for light, power and mechanical equipment in common areas. 

137 bicycle parks (100 flat top & 37 Ned Kelly) are located in the basement carpark, nurturing the local council’s initiative of green infrastructure in the area, with bike paths on most main roads coming off High Street, as well as the nearby bicycle highway on St. George’s Road. 

Furthermore, 25,000L of rainwater tank capacity located in the basement collected from the rooftops is used to flush 50 toilets on the first two floors. 

Ultimately, the design offers a coordinated approach to public and private interests by combining the community interest into a forward-thinking project for Cedar Group (developer) which shows initiative and leadership in the architectural field.

The General was visualised to be a very exciting structure, to stand the test of time in its design and its use of cutting-edge technology on the facade; a combination which will last numerous years and trending architectural phases. It’s energy consumption minimisation strategy is now a precedence for all large-scale developments in the area, achieving a combined average of 7.5 star efficiency rating.

Project Details


Northcote, Melbourne

Completion date


Mixed-Use Building

87 Apartments
Office Space


7.5 Star NatHERS Rating
25,000L Water Storage
130m2 Onyx Solar Photovoltaic Glass Balustrade
137 Bicycle Parks


WINNER – International Property Awards Asia Pacific Region (Multi-residential Architecture)
WINNER – International Property Awards Asia Pacific Region (Residential Development)
Shortlisted – Sustainability Awards 2018
Shortlisted-International Design & Architecture Awards 2018