While becoming the tallest in architectural terms will always garner attention, taller building often harbour some of the lengthiest development periods.
With a rise in the prominence of prefabrication, however, large is no longer necessarily equated with lengthy. While this notion perhaps most evidenced in China, where prefab structures went up in record times last year – it is certainly gaining momentum elsewhere, with Melbourne’s latest prefab project offering to be the city’s most grandiose to date.
According to Nonda Katsalidis of architectural firm Fender Katsalidis, Melbourne’s soon-to-be-developed Australia 108 on Southbank – which is expected to become the tallest building in the southern hemisphere – will also have the shortest construction time when compared to similar skyscrapers.
The acclaimed architect explains that this will be due to the use of prefabricated structural elements.
“We’re going to fabricate components so that the building will be pre-assembled on the ground,” says Katsalidis. “This means that the building will be built faster than any similar building has been built in this country before.”
The skyscraper will reach 388 metres over 108 storeys and will be home to 600 apartment spaces, offering to fill the ever-increasing housing demand in the Victorian capital. It has a projected completion time of just four years.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy is one of many who have praised the development for its aesthetic appeal, clever developmental process and societal impact, saying, “the proposal is a strong indicator that Melbourne is a city that people want to invest in.”
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, however, has expressed his concerns that Melbourne will lose its street appeal under the shadow of what he has labeled ‘a canyon of enormous buildings with no life at street level.’
Katsalidis stands by the design, saying that Melbournians are ‘proud of their city’s big buildings’ and adding that he is ‘completely confident that Australia 108 will get a planning permit.’
It will be up to the Planning Minister to give the structure its final approval. While the building may soon stand to represent best practice in large-scale skyscraper design and delivery, with the process of skyscraper structural prefabrication booming, it may not stand as the tallest and fastest for too long.