A lush green forest inside and Australia’s largest vertical installation of solar panels outside – the latest project designed by Fender Katsalidis is a $200-million luxury residential tower in Melbourne CBD, home to 227 exclusive apartments.

Successfully delivered by leading Melbourne developer Beulah, the eagerly anticipated 48-level luxury residential building ‘Paragon’ at 318 Queen Street redefines the concept of traditional apartment living with the clever design by Fender Katsalidis ensuring almost all residents get a prized corner vista overlooking Melbourne’s famed streetscape below.

However, what stands out as a singular feature in the Paragon project is the first-of-its-kind indoor forest on three storeys of the building designed to offer a green escape to residents. Conceptualised and executed by internationally acclaimed landscaper Paul Bangay, the forest features a carefully composed selection of mature trees, leafy canopies, climbing gardens, grassy spaces and tranquil water features.

In terms of amenities, residents can enjoy a series of formal and relaxed areas where they can hold meetings, private dinners, cocktails and functions. Feature highlights also include a library, private theatre and screening lounge, resort style pool, gym, spa and sauna, all in the vicinity of the indoor forest.

The vertical solar installation comprising 128 panels and spanning 158 square metres is said to be the largest of its kind in Australia, which will effectively reduce common property costs, and indirectly reduce owners corporation fees.

Describing the project’s completion as a momentous milestone signalling the company’s first CBD tower, Beulah executive director Adelene Teh said, “Paragon is home to a number of boundary pushing design elements, some of which are the first of their kind; being able to deliver on these is an exciting achievement as it lifts the bar of what is expected when it comes to residential living in Melbourne.”

Nicky Drobis, director at Fender Katsalidis, highlights the benefits of nature for residents and in the design outcome, which was created in collaboration with landscape architect Paul Bangay.   

“The urban forest is innovative in the context of Australian high-rise living and is a new way to connect residents with green living environments in a CBD setting. 

“We have created a link between the trees that line the streets below and Paragon’s conservatory-like space which residents will be able to engage with through all seasons. 

“Dedicating three levels in height to the urban forest shows a true commitment to ensuring residents have access to nature while simultaneously acting as an interval in the façade to delineate the heritage from the new tower form,” she says. 

There is a further level of interest to each apartment’s view created by the dynamic nature of the grid on the façade which is enhanced by the full height glazing. 

“We have created something that is architecturally unique for Melbourne with a diagrid design juxtaposing the original heritage building and adding to the sky presence of this part of Melbourne.”

Paragon has achieved a 5 Star Green Star rating, and also features a rainwater harvesting system as well as shared e-bikes.

Photos: Image credit – Willem-Dirk du Toit