Woods Bagot designs taller, larger Melbourne Quarter tower

The 2.5 hectare, $1.9 million Melbourne Quarter development in Docklands is set to increase in scale, with councillors endorsing new plans for a commercial tower that will add five storeys and almost 5,000 square metres of office space.

Woods Bagot has designed the new tower, which will supersede the previously approved design by Denton Corker Marshall.

City of Melbourne councillors voted unanimously to not object to the changes at a committee meeting on 16 April. The proposal will be referred to planning minister Richard Wynne for approval.

Other changes to the approved scheme include the removal of a planned child care centre, the removal of a public “Sky Room,” and the reduction in the size of a laneway to the east of the tower from 10 metres wide to 7.5 metres wide.

A simple glass façade has been changed to be more varied and detailed, while the floorplate of the tower has been altered from a regular rectangle to include a convex curve to the eastern facade and concave curve to the western facade.

Council planners were generally supportive of the changes. “We support the diversity of architectural form from adjacent buildings, particularly with the curvilinear form and strong consideration and presentation of the end elevations,” they said in their report. “The introduction of fins to add shade and depth and an ordering grid is a welcome addition in contrast with the flat glazed presentation of the building to the west.”

It was also found that the proposal was “generally in accordance” with the development plan approved for the site. The planners’ report did note that there would be a notable change to the public realm ownership, with the north-south lane to the east of the tower now to be privately owned but publicly accessible. But the report states this change is is “not considered an issue as it is supported by Council’s Engineering Branch and could in turn have positive implications for the design of the North-South Lane such as the removal of the need for public car parking resulting in a more inviting pedestrian environment.”

Another commercial tower in the precinct designed by Woods Bagot, the 25-storey Two Melbourne Quarter, received approval in early 2018 and is now under construction.

The 19-level One Melbourne Quarter designed by Denton Corker Marshall has been completed and is now occupied.

The Melbourne Quarter precinct is a project of developer Lendlease.

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