UNStudio has won the “Southbank by Beulah” competition this August to build a landmark skyscraper in Melbourne with a design that will become Australia’s tallest building — and one of its greenest.
UNStudio and Cox Architecture’s design for Melbourne’s landmark Southbank Precinct overhaul features a pair of twisted towers connected by a “green spine” — two vertical networks of stepped platforms and terraces filled with plants and mixed use spaces mirroring each other on both towers.
To absorb noise and air pollution, the “vertical urban landscape” on the BMW Southbank site develops as it scales into the sky: shrubs and ferns decorate the lower and mid-level terraces with eucalyptus trees to let in light on higher levels. At the top, visitors can stroll through the rooftop garden.
The 365-meter-high residential tower will host the garden, while the other 252-meter tower will contain a luxury hotel and office space. The cantilevered structure will contain a wide range of programs and commercial spaces — including recreation, retail and exhibition spaces. The podium and rooftop will be open to the public, with a marketplace, BMW center and entertainment spaces open on the bottom. Additional entertainment programming will occur on the rooftop garden.
“As Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia, our design proposal for Aouthbank by Beulah will enhance this profile and give the city a new place in which its art and culture can be displayed for the world to see,” the architects said, according to Designboom. “The various podium terraces offer platforms for temporary performance art, sculptures, light installations, and other exhibitions.”
Softening the line between between private and public and indoor and outdoor spaces, the project will be a continuation of the Southbank Boulevard with an outdoor staircase opening out onto the street. Open balconies provide a break-out spot for the various styles of office spaces dotting the tower and offer a space to socialize for hotel guests and residents.
The proposal beat out entries from other high-profile firms, including OMA, BIG, MAD architects, and coop himmelb(l)au. With the exception of OMA, all of the designs for the $2 billion project revealed at the public symposium in July imagined buildings that incorporated greenery on multiple levels, with BIG proposing a similar “mountain village” — small segments of tree-filled parks climbing up the design.
The site broke another record last December for the the most expensive central Melbourne property deal of the year. news.com.au reported that Beulah International paid $101,008,888 for the 6,000-square-meter property.
Renderings courtesy of UN Studio