The tower that’s dividing Melbourne

Proposed megatower at 54 Clarke Street, which will be almost 240-metres tall.Its creators have labelled it an ”elegant” urban icon, but a damning Melbourne City Council report has warned a new apartment building almost as tall as the Rialto would oppress and stifle the neighbours.
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The 72-storey Southbank mega-tower was previously approved by the state government before changes to planning controls saw the developer Urban Matrix sent back to the drawing board.

Months later council staff still do not like the plans for 54 Clarke Street, which are currently before the Minister for Planning.

A report to be presented to councillors on Tuesday said the tower, at almost 240 metres high, will cast a shadow on ”a great number” of public spaces and dominate the view of those who live in nearby south-facing Bank Apartments.

”The sense of containment would be substantial and oppressive, particularly for dwellings at the lower levels,” the report found.

But those conclusions have been fiercely rebuffed by the building’s designer BKK Architects. Director Simon Knott said the tower will instead become a landmark for those driving along the West Gate Freeway.

”Because it twists as you move around that bend, the whole building will twist and turn. It’s almost like the building is alive,” he said.

Mr Knott said they had also done computer modelling which showed the south-facing apartments in the neighbouring building would still retain extensive views, including of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

”The building will sit down one side of the view – it’s anything but oppressive,” he said.

Meanwhile across the other side of the Yarra, the Melbourne City Council has also raised significant concerns about another tower hailed by its creators for its innovative design. The 145-metre office and retail tower currently before Minister for Planning is the latest addition to the $1.3 billion Collins Square development in Docklands.

Council have taken exception to the design by the joint-winners of the Flinders Street Station design competition, HASSELL architects, describing the building’s oversized top as having ”an ungainly relationship to the building below”.

Meanwhile, 3D modelling by the City of Melbourne shows the tower will overshadow the south bank of the Yarra during the winter solstice – a finding disputed by developer Walker Corporation.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

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