Jackson Clements Burrows Architects has revealed designs for what could become Australia’s first residential building to be built above a railway line.

The Melbourne practice has proposed a design for a 20-storey plant-covered apartment tower to be constructed above the Sandringham Line at Chapel Street in Windsor.

Along with a suite of sustainability initiatives, the project is being touted by the developer as a creative solution to a shortage of well-located space for housing development in the Melbourne metropolitan.

“[If] we are going to maintain [Melbourne’s] renowned liveability, halt urban sprawl, and locate residents next to the services demanded in a 21st century city, we need to begin looking at under-utilised assets such as the air space above rail lines to address these needs,” says Robert Murphy, Development Manager at SMA Projects.

“This project provides an example of building for the future – delivering best practice standards in all aspects of the project.”


The building would also be targeting ‘net-zero’ energy use, as well as a 5-Star Green Star and 7-Star NaTHERs Rating. Vertical landscaping and a community garden with edible food have been designed by Aspect Studios for the project, and early indications are that the building would use new state-of-the-art solar capture technology.


It will contain street-level retail space, three levels of car parking space, a single level of office space, and 45 apartments across the remaining 15 levels.


Sitting above a rail line, 24 Chapel Street will face technical and engineering challenges. The proposed height may also raise issues, after the City of Stonnington council asked Planning Minister Richard Wynne to approve a 12-storey maximum height limit for the area.

The proposal is currently open for public comment before it’s submitted in May. Complete the survey and have your say here

Images: SMA Projects