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A reconfigured Melbourne precinct looks to city’s future with sustainability and performance goals
Collins Street—revered for both its historic Victorian architecture and high-end shopping—has its first new office building in over two decades. This new mixed-use precinct revives this crook of the city with its sustainability and performance in a four-part project made up of a new commercial tower, boutique hotel, renovations to the existing commercial tower, and a podium base linking the entire block. Built along the corner of Collins and Exhibition Street, the 32-story South Tower of the project displays an expressive façade. The faceted, glass exterior references the street lanterns of Collins Street—a local symbol for the city—but manages the amount of daylight allowed into the interior.
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At night, a discrete lighting installation is on display. A 12-meter-deep cantilever supports its beacon hovering over original Victorian buildings. The frame incorporates a rectilinear super grid that continues this configuration throughout the podium base. Additional diagonal bracing structure and transfer points in the building exoskeleton help to stabilize it. The continuation of these lines along the façade creates a visually narrowing effect for the northern part of the dual tower composition. A technologically advanced “twin” elevator system allows for the core to become much more condensed, with a total of 16 cars installed into eight shafts with two main rises: mid and high. The system allows for lift cars within the same passage to move independently of one another. The South Tower is aiming to be the first 6 Green Star commercial building in this district.
A new 19-story boutique hotel accessed from Little Collins Street west of the office tower provides 285 rooms. Similar to both the retail façades and South Tower, the building is marked by its structural frame with a large grid component but is slightly different in that it also provides privacy and solar protection for its interiors.
The existing commercial tower occupying 80 Collins is reoriented to be accessed via Exhibition Street. Its elevated lobby was demolished to allow this new entry point with a series of gentle inclines that connect the laneways to further the connectivity within the development.
The podium base is comprised of 5,000 square meters of street-level retail and commercial spaces that knit together the entire block. Its height and form respond to traditional street characteristics and the rhythm of its historic neighbors. Internal laneways are also integrated within this space to link the surrounding streets and perpetuate the city’s pedestrian connectivity.
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