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    Could Melbourne’s tallest skinny skyscraper be making a comeback?

    Nathan Johnson

    This article originally stated that BKK Architects had removed the project from its online portfolio. This is incorrect and the article has been amended. The project can be viewed on BKK’s website here.


    Three years on since it was spectacularly approved for development by then planning minister Matthew Guy, Melbourne’s tallest skinny skyscraper could finally be going ahead.

    Fairfax is reporting the site and permit for the approved 19-storey tower at 54 Clarke Street, Southbank will be sold, giving the development a possible second life.

    The tower was originally designed by Melbourne firm BKK (Black Kosloff Knott) back in 2011. The 597sqm site was reportedly subject to several failed marketing campaigns in 2016, but Commercial Real Estate says that a change of hands is now imminent.

    The tower, which spans a mere 12-metres wide at its narrowest point, was actually approved twice by Guy, first in early 2013, and then again in late December after a challenge from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).  

    It will rise to 238-metres between Habitat at 58 Clarke Street, and The Bank, at 283 City Road, and feature twisting ‘flower stem’ floorplates, a design which reportedly provides optimal natural light to the building’s apartments.

    CLARKESTSMALL.jpg

    The tower will house 256 apartments, along with an elevated spa, sauna, pool deck, and a “highly activated” ground level containing shops and cafes.

    It is located close to the Crown casino in Southbank and the recently approved 323-metre 1 Queensbridge tower by Crown Resorts.

    The tower has been likened to the slender towers of the world’s major cities, not least New York’s famous skinny towers, One Maddison Park and 785 Eighth Street.

    It joins the recently completed skinny apartment tower on Flinders Street by Fender Katsalidis Architects called ‘The Phoenix’, which stands at 89 meters tall and only 6.7 meters wide. 

    At the time of 54 Clarke’s approval, Guy predicted that this type of development would be something we’d be seeing more of in the coming decades.

    “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,” he said.

    “Yes, it’s skinny; yes it’s different, but we will have to do business differently in the next 20 years to how we have done it in the past, and this is a perfect example.”

    The original DA said that the project would be powered at least in part by onsite power generation.

    Images and information: Urban Melbourne

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