A new tower aims to meet the demands of Melbourne residents for lofty living in the city centre.

Abode318, a tower named for its location at 318 Russell Street, is due for completion this year. At 188 metres tall, it will rank ninth on the list of Melbourne’s top 10 tallest buildings – the first entry since the 297-metre Eureka was completed in 2006.

The skyscraper will house 450 apartments on 57 floors with the ninth floor dedicated to resident facilities including a swimming pool, steam room, sauna, gym, terrace, health rooms and meeting spaces. The 55th floor will comprise a exclusive private lounge, dining space and a health and well-being area for residents living on levels 26 to 54.

Abode318 will join an abundance of high-rise developments currently under construction (31 projects according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat CTBUH) or approved by the State Government.

Just this week, Minister of Planning Matthew Guy announced a “Super Tuesday” initiative where he approved five new high-rise residential towers for the city. Guy describes the planning strategy as responding to market demand, with high-rise development centralised in the CBD and inner city areas rather than the suburbs.

This movement from the government has encouraged architects and developers to deliver buildings that are purposeful, aesthetically complement the skyline and contribute to creating a proficient city.

Abode318's Slender Aesthetic

Abode318’s Slender Aesthetic

Abode318 presaged current trends when it was first proposed in 2007, including through its “skinny skyscraper” status.

In cities like Melbourne, New York and Hong Kong where urban space is scarce, architects are challenging conventional structures and utilising advancements in high-strength concrete technology to build tall, slender structures that offer premium views and boutique living in the world’s most exclusive cities.

Abode318 fits the criteria, standing on a small piece of land spanning a mere 273 square metres.

“The goal is to make best use of this significant but narrow CBD site,” said Chris White, senior project manager of PDG, which is co-developing the project with Schiavello. “We wanted to capitalise on the city views available and maximise access to natural light. We are committed to delivering a good urban design outcome of the highest architectural merit and in turn contributing to the Melbourne CBD skyline in a positive way.”

The building’s height was planned and derived by Disegno Australia in collaboration with Elenberg Fraser and was required to meet Civil Aviation Safety Authorities guidelines.

“From a design perspective (it’s set to deliver) a stunning outcome befitting the locality and urban context in a harmonious manner,” White said.

The tower features a wave-like façade, one that will serve more than its aesthetic purpose and provide residents with space benefits. The building’s shape and colour will also make it highly identifiable.

Abode318 Wave-Like Facade

Abode318’s wave-like facade

“The sculptured façade delivers a variety of apartment sizes through the tower, thus providing option tho those looking for more space in their home in the sky or those looking for a smaller apartment but on a higher level,” White said.

Additionally, the undulating window boxes which frame each apartment’s view of Melbourne will offer the tower’s inhabitants wider view angles as the apartments step back.

“The facade is made up of box like frames which step in and out in a wave like pattern, travelling up the building,” he said. “Given each slab protrudes by a different length than the one above and below it, the development required custom designed protection screens, to allow for safe construction of the building and achieve the undulating effect of the facade.”

The sophisticated façade offers the opportunity for green measures, including thermal regulation. It features 10-millimetre thick rose-coloured laminated glass that has been manufactured with thermal properties to provide insulation.

“This means that each residence will be kept cooler in summer and warmer in the winter, saving money for the resident and reducing the need for heating and cooling,” White said. “It provides extremely clear views from inside looking out and is highly reflective when looking from the outside in, delivering maximum privacy without sacrificing the view. The glass has also been manufactured to keep outside noise outside and not disrupt living inside.”

Abode318 will have a 6.5 star energy rating and features a thermally efficient building envelope that will work to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, which will comfortably exceed the BCA 2010 energy efficiency requirements for Class 2 dwellings, White said, noting the building will feature “high performance glazing throughout the building, naturally ventilated car parking, installation of rain water harvesting system and inclusion of the highest rated appliances and fittings for water and power efficiency.”

Along with ample bike racks, the building will include a “share car” for the building organised by the Owner’s Corporation that will allow residents who don’t own a car to access a vehicle for occasional use.

Abode318 Lounge Areas

Abode318 lounge areas

Abode318 is due for completion later this year and will stand as the tallest of the more than 20 tall building projects scheduled for completion in Melbourne in 2014 according to data from the CTBUH.

It will be surpassed by residential and mixed-use projects Prima Pear Apartments (254 metres), Vision Apartments (226 metres) and 568 Collins Street (224 metres), all of which are scheduled for completion over the next two years, dropping Abode to 12th place among Melbourne’s tallest buildings.