Elenberg Fraser has designed a $200-million, three-tower apartment development for the former Melbourne Convention Centre site at 7-23 Spencer Street. The project has recently been approved by the Victorian minister for planning, Richard Wynne.
The development will feature 1,060 residential apartments across the three towers, ranging from 27 to 34 storeys in addition to 451 car bays, 160 bicycle spaces and retail spaces. These will sit on a 8,500sqm site at Docklands North Wharf, on the edge of the Yarra River. The sloping green roofs on top of each tower are designed to reference the natural context.
Elenberg Fraser’s project design leader, James Harbard, explains that the top of the towers will reference river banks. They will feature heavy vegetation and articulation, elevated by smooth, floating glass objects. Given the site’s location on the river, the architects have also designed the sloping tops of the towers to ensure that the south bank of the Yarra is not overshadowed by the development in the middle of the day.
According to Harbard, the towers are derived from “a parametric design process [to] prioritise views down the Yarra corridor”. After establishing primary and secondary views, Elenberg Fraser tweaked the design so that the majority of apartments received ‘primary views’.
An important design objective for the project is the regeneration of the precinct, with the intention of creating a similar feel to the South Wharf side of the river.
The old Melbourne Convention Centre, which still sits on the site, is currently undergoing demolition.