Melbourne’s CBD will soon be home to a new landmark residential skyscraper known as Tower Melbourne. The project received the green light from Victoria’s planning minister Matthew Guy, who encourages better land use by condensing the city population.
The 71-storey building on the corner of Queen Street and Bourke Street will be the tallest residential tower in the city.
Designed by architect firm Elenberg Fraser, the tower is described as a “city-defining project.” Callum Fraser of Elenberg Fraser says Tower Melbourne will stand out architecturally as it is not just a flat box. He says the building will comprise a micro floorplate in a super-highrise context.
He adds that the tower will be built tall and thin with a slight twist, creating a continuously evolving form, or a “living sculpture” that reacts to the sun and the sky.
Undertaken by a subsidiary of Singapore-based Chip Eng Seng Corporation, CEL Australia, the $170 million project is expected to be completed in 2016.
In addition to office space and high-end retail and restaurant space on the first floor, the tower will comprise one, two and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 43 to 75 square metres. The asking price for a two-bedroom townhouse starts at $875,000 and penthouses will sell for over $2 million.
The developer purchased the site in September 2011 for $25 million. The current office building will be demolished to begin construction on the tower at 150 Queen Street.
The residential super highrise does not come without criticism, with controversy having erupted over the building’s size. Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has criticised the tower for being simply too big.
Ken Ong, chairman of Melbourne’s city planning committee, says Tower Melbourne is disrespectful to the surrounding areas and calls it an ‘overbuild.’ Ong refers to the tower as a ‘blight on the city’ and says the intended icon will only be that for a moment in time until something bigger is constructed.
“To me the most important thing is what happens when the building hits the footpath because it’s got to be active and it’s got to be something that adds to the culture of Melbourne and it’s got to have a human scale,” Doyle says.
He states that the council is on record as being opposed to the building calling it an over-development of the site.