Trouble brewing up north

By Laurence Dragomir

The City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee met for its first meeting on February 6 to consider, amongst other things, UK-based student accommodation provider Scape’s plans for a student accommodation tower on the former Carlton United Brewery site.

The proposal failed to receive the support of City of Melbourne’s planners and urban designers after undergoing a design change with the matter set for VCAT.

Chief amongst CoM’s concerns for the DCM designed 22-storey tower are its lack of a suitable transition between the high-rise built form of the CBD and the lower built form of Carlton and adjacent heritage buildings.

Additionally there is concern that Scape’s proposal will have negative impacts on the public realm and will lead to an unsuitable built form and urban design outcome on Swanston St.

The design adopts a similar modular, monolithic and monotone aesthetic to Scape’s first Melbourne project on Swanston St opposite RMIT, which is almost complete, yet taller, while the CUB proposal is more of a slab form.

CoM’s urban design team recommends a more vertical, granular approach to the arrangement of the massing, in lieu of the current slab configuration, citing Urban Nest’s 599 Swanston St as a good example to follow.

Scape has big plans for Melbourne with a further tower – set to be the tallest student accommodation building in the world – on Franklin Street, also currently at planning.

The student accommodation provider also has air rights above the new State Library Station entry on the corner of LaTrobe and Swanston streets, when it is completed in eight years.

Meanwhile, just around the corner, revised plans for the Queen Victoria Market’s Garden Pavilion designed by Breathe Architecture have been submitted.

As part of the new plans the pavilion has cut in length down to 111m, from an initial length of 254m originally and will comprise two key parts: the 1560sqm Trading Hall and the upper-level Greenhouse.

The $7.4 million structure will be built on the northern end of Queen St, providing space for displaced traders once the redevelopment of the Q2 area – comprising Sheds A-D – commences.

The reduction has come about due to the reduced excavation footprint for the Q2 works with City of Melbourne opting for a deeper excavation for the below-ground facilities at the western end of Sheds A, B, C and D.

As a result, the eastern sections of the sheds, adjacent to Queens St, no longer require removal, meaning that fewer fruit and veg traders will be disrupted.

And lastly, just down the road from the market the 55-storey Avant has topped out months ahead of schedule, with builder Probuild citing its use of its innovative construction system as a key factor in achieving this significant milestone.

Designed by Elenberg Fraser for Singaporean developer World Class Global, Avant will upon completion feature 456 residential apartments comprising a mix of one, two and three bedrooms.

The 167m high tower is clad in a custom coloured glazing, featuring diagrid fins that wrap the entire building.

203 apartments up to level 29 were handed over to World Class Global last month, with the remaining 253 apartments and three levels of residential communal amenities due to be handed over in mid-2018.

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