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Global architecture studio Woods Bagot is playing a key role in the design and development of Melbourne Quarter by Lendlease through the delivery of key infrastructure and urban master-planning.
The practice has designed two new commercial towers, a standalone retail building and an extension to the existing Sky Park in the 2.5-hectare urban regeneration precinct opposite Southern Cross Station at the western end of Melbourne’s CBD.
Talk to Hazel Porter about Woods Bagot shapes Melbourne Quarter precinct
In its first tower, Two Melbourne Quarter (2MQ), Woods Bagot opted for a simple sculptural form in a singular expression, harbouring an agile and technologically forward collaborative working environment.
Completed in 2020, the 50,000-square-metre crystalline tower rises 24 levels above Collins Street in the northern Southern commercial section of the precinct.
Work is well underway on Woods Bagot’s second commercial tower, Melbourne Quarter Tower (MQT), the ‘flagship’ of the precinct, slated for completion mid-2024. As the third and final commercial building in the precinct, MQT is a 34-level curvilinear tower raised above a cantilevered podium encompassing nearly 70,000 sq m of office space.
The tower design derives its shape from the arc of Wurundjeri Way, set back to enable the curved architectural form to embrace the ample open space of Melbourne Square. The curved veil is designed to mitigate strong winds and harsh weather conditions, with the concave face addressing the square.
A dramatic, sloping roofline provides an intriguing counterpoint to the rectilinear skyline, cleverly negotiating solar access regulations and creating a striking tenancy within the building’s crest unlike anything else in the city.
Woods Bagot also designed a standalone retail complex connected to Sky Park – an elevated, north-facing green oasis in the centre of the city, comprising 2,000sq m of open-air landscape floating 12 metres above street level.
Suspended over Collins Street, the Sky Park is connected to ground level by a dramatic, freestanding double-helix spiral staircase and glass access lifts, supported by the Woods Bagot-designed retail tenancy.
With Oculus Landscape Architecture, Woods Bagot has helped to curate the ground plane, equivalent in scale to an entire city block. Intimate gardens, raised lawns, central plazas and winding through-links break up the mass of the precinct and provide biophilic connections, improving the wellbeing and productivity of its users.
The commercial towers are anchored by Melbourne Square, the social heart of Melbourne Quarter, flanked by food and beverage outlets.
The remaining buildings in the precinct include One Melbourne Quarter (a 28-storey commercial tower by architects Denton Corker Marshall), a wellness and retail annex designed by Wardle, and a 44-storey east residential tower by Fender Katsalidis. The final instalment of the precinct will be the west residential tower, also by Fender Katsilidis.
Bounded by Collins and Flinders streets, Melbourne Quarter is one of the city’s largest mixed-use urban developments. More than half of the floorplate is dedicated to public open space, earning it the classification of an “urban regeneration” development, returning public and greenspace back to the city.
Melbourne Quarter capitalises on under-utilised urban space to deliver public benefits such as better connectivity and social inclusion, an affiliation with nature, and the revitalisation of disused urban space.
A key tenet of the masterplan is to bridge an existing gap between Docklands and Melbourne’s CBD.
Building over Wurundjeri Way and Collins Street, the precinct creates new public parks, workplaces, residences and community spaces, with laneway and pedestrian links insinuating the precinct into the wider city fabric.
Melbourne Quarter was awarded a 6-Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia – the highest sustainability rating achievable in Australia.
The final stages of the precinct – which will include the completion of a second residential tower – are slated for 2026. Once completed, the landmark development is expected to house 13,000 new workers and 3,000 residents.
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