Things are heating up

By Laurence Dragomir

With the scent of spring well and truly in the air and the promise of summer just around the corner, things are heating up on the construction and development front.

SP Setia’s 62-storey, $565 million development mixed-use development at 308 Exhibition St has officially started construction with a ground-breaking ceremony held on-site to commemorate the event featuring key project partners including the design teams from Cox Architecture and Fender Katsalidis.

Head contractor Multiplex will deliver Melbourne’s first 5-star Shangri-La hotel of 500 suites, in addition to 300 apartments opposite the World Heritage-listed Carlton Gardens.

Having already achieved 95 per cent sales success at time of writing, Sapphire By The Gardens is expected to take three years to complete with Shangri-La Melbourne due to open in 2022.

Elsewhere, the City of Melbourne has thrown its support behind a 19-storey hotel proposal at 407-415 King St in West Melbourne. Council has, however, required the development proponents to slash two storeys from the overall height, down to 53 m.

DCF Property’s latest development proposal on the site of Flagstaff House, would include the internal demolition of the two-storey building which was completed in 1968. 

The approval paves the way for the construction of 258 hotel rooms, two function spaces on the roof level and a 177 sqm restaurant located on the ground floor. The Fender Katsalidis-designed scheme replaces a previous application which was refused at VCAT in April 2017.

Last month also saw the official opening of the Carme Pinós-designed MPavilion 2018 at the Queen Victoria Gardens. Carme Pinós was selected by Naomi Milgrom to design the 2018 MPavilion on the back of her community-focused philosophy of design, with the Barcelona-based architect and educator becoming the first female Spanish architect to design public work in Australia.

MPavilion 2018 marks the fifth incarnation in an ongoing series that was initiated and commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation with support from the City of Melbourne, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and ANZ. The pavilion this year celebrates building communities and women in leadership, with a free four-month program of events from October 9, 2018 to February 3, 2019, featuring more than 500 Australian and international guests and collaborators.

And lastly, the first of the State Library Victoria’s new spaces were unveiled in October as part of the library’s Vision 2020 redevelopment. Once fully complete, the $88.1 million transformation will increase the total amount of public space by 40 per cent and seating by 70 per cent. Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects are leading the design for Vision 2020.

As part of the first stage of redevelopment, two new reading rooms and a dedicated special events venue were created, joining a new lounge and meeting space. A 60 per cent larger Readings bookshop and new cafe, Guild, also feature in the first-stage works. The shared meeting space has been designed for working, collaborating and relaxing, and will also feature a large-scale original artwork by Melbourne artist Tai Snaith running along the length of the wall.

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