Melbourne’s Skinniest Skyscraper Approved

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Friday, January 3rd, 2014
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Melbourne has joined the “skinny” skyscraper trend so popular in New York and Hong Kong with the approval of a new project in the city.

Minister for Planning Matthew Guy approved the slender residential tower, which will rise 240 metres at 54-56 Clarke Street, Southbank, an area already experiencing a skyscraper boom with a projected 10,000 residents expected to move into the area.

Melbourne architectural firm, BKK (Black Kosloff Knott) are behind the innovative design, which will see the tower twist slightly twist as it rises to encourage natural light. Structurally, it will be around 12 metres wide at its narrowest point.

54 Clarke Street Project

54 Clarke Street project

“Melbourne is proud to be developing some of the most innovative and advanced skyscraper designs in the world,” Guy said. “Melbourne’s engineering, design and construction skills base provides a strong foundation for investment and highly skilled employment growth into the future.”

“While other skinny buildings are called ‘pencil towers’, this building displays a slender, twisting flower stem design. 54 Clarke Street has strong architectural features to ensure it embodies a slender, sophisticated style all the way from a ‘webbed’ foundation at ground level.”

Matthew Guy

Planning Minister Matthew Guy

The 73-storey  building is set to house 256 apartments along with a  “highly activated ground level” containing shops and cafes, an elevated spa, sauna and pool deck along with an exclusive sky bar, according to BKK.

Its sustainability features will include innovative facade technology, on site power generation, sky gardens and a unique, automated car storage system.

The tower would also join Melbourne’s own Phoenix apartment building by Fender Katsalidis, which will hold the crown of the skinniest tower in the city upon its completion this year. Located on the site of the old Phoenix Hotel, the building will span a mere 6.7 metres wide.

Phoenix Apartments, Melbourne

Phoenix Apartments, Melbourne

While slender aesthetics are new for Melbourne, a boom in skyscrapers isn’t, with Guy earning a reputation for his support of skyscraper construction in  the city. He confirmed in his announcement that there are currently six built or approved buildings in Melbourne that are, or will be, taller than 54 Clarke Street, but much wider.

Additionally, Melbourne currently has 60 skyscrapers (above 100 metres) currently under construction or proposed for the city according to the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Guy has likened the design of 54 Clarke Street to others in major cities overseas, including New York’s One Madison Park and 785 Eighth Street projects.

SHoP's Skinny Skyscraper, Manhattan

SHoP’s Skinny Skyscraper, Manhattan

New York and Hong Kong are both renowned for dizzying heights and have been recognised for their leadership in skinny skyscraper development. In Manhattan, the recently approved SHoP architects’ 111 West 57th Street tower will rise 411 metres but will only be 13 metres wide, giving it a width-to-height ration of approximately 1:30.

Topping 54 Clarke Street by one floor, the 74-storey tower is set to house 100 luxury apartments and will offer boutique living and spectacular views of Central Park and New York’s surrounding architecture. However, like most high rise projects, unparalleled views equate to extremely high living costs with SHoP’s skinny skyscraper projected to house New York’s first $100 million apartment.

Rafael Vinoly’s 432 Park Avenue (currently under construction) and Christian de Portzamparc’s topped out One 57 tower and 217 West 57th Street are being built nearby. As expected, the width and footprint of both these projects is minimal: 8,250 square feet for 432 Park Avenue, 6,240 square feet for One 57, with the footprint of 217 West 57th Street yet to be disclosed.

Melbourne Skyscrapers

Melbourne Skyscrapers

Melbourne, New York and Hong Kong all face issues of land scarcity but there is an increasing demand among residents to live in the centre of these cities. Skinny skyscrapers are designed to meet demand, deliver luxury living at a central location and offer views that can only be achieved at the highest points of a dense city.  

The rise of skinny skyscrapers around the world is predicted to continue thanks to new concrete technology, mass dampers and sky high budgets from eager residents which allow them to live the high life in the world’s most desired cities.

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