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    Fender Katsalidis redesign 'monstrous' tower in Melbourne - VCAT gives green light

    Nathan Johnson

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    Fender Katsalidis have taken up the challenge to redesign an unpopular Victorian mixed-use project, including a 26-storey tower labelled ‘monstrous’ by some in the Ivanhoe community.

    The developers have now received a Consent Order for the updated design’s development from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and VicRoads. Initial designs for 443 Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe, one of Melbourne’s highest points, were condemned by some members of the community who reportedly considered the tower element of the $100 million project ‘monstrous’.

    Untitled-2.jpg151005-443-Upper-Heidelberg-Road-View-02.jpgThe tower element of the original plans (top) was considered by some in the Ivanhoe community as too large and subsequently Caydon created a squatter version with more mass towards the site boundaries. Images: Caydon.


    Developer Caydon then took the revised Fender Katsalidis-designed plans to the VCAT for a Compulsory Conference which resulted in the project receiving a new Consent Order for its development.

    The Conference saw Caydon resolving key height, built form and mass, and vehicle access concerns through a significantly amended proposal.

    Caydon principal Joe Russo says the eventual collaboration and process that culminated in the decision to grant a permit was a model for successful town planning outcomes in Melbourne.

    “The Compulsory Conference provided constructive feedback from council planners, residents and community stakeholders about the site, and helped us land on a design that is a better fit with the surrounding area in terms of the height, appearance and amenity of the proposed building,” he explains.

    “We achieved this, in part, by the tribunal member facilitating interactions with residents and community stakeholders where we listened to concerns about the original plans, and then created a new design resolving those concerns, including concessions on height.

    Fender Katsalidis’ new design includes a significantly reduced tower height and parapet, and a reduced total floor area. The major casualty from the redesign is the office and retail space which has been halved from original plans and will make way for some of the apartments that were lost with the deleted levels.

     See revised plans in summary below:

    Capture.JPG

    If it is passed by Council, members of the Ivanhoe community can anticipate the addition of a $150 million, 14-storey residential, office and retail building to the triangular site which is ringed in by three major thoroughfares, including Upper Heidelberg Road and Bell Street.

    Renders of the project show a large tower and a long horizontal podium, both heavily glazed and dressed by a mixture of sculptural vertical timber and metal cladding battens. A variety of glazed parapets and a sweeping mass also contribute to its sculptural presence. 

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