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    Queens Street towers set to soar; Cox and Fender Katsalidis’ tall scheme approved

    Nathan Johnson

    Victorian planning has given the nod to a $750 million mixed-use development for Melbourne City designed by a contingent of local design firms with international repute.

    ‘Queens Place’ by architects Cox Architecture and Fender Katsalidis, and interior designer Hecker Guthrie, was approved by planning minister Richard Wynne on 12 March, who said the project was “well-designed” and beneficial to Melbourne’s growing population.

    To be located at 350 Queen Street, the development will see twin curvilinear towers rise from a shared podium for 270 metres. The podium will include a public plaza, a crèche, a childcare and nearly 2,000sqm of retail space while the towers will bring a combined total of 1,700 new dwellings to the Melbourne CBD.

    The towers will be 29 metres shorter than the city's current tallest building, the 92-level (297-metre) Eureka tower, and shorter than what will become the country's tallest building, Australia 108, which is expected to top out at 319 metres. Both Eureka and Australia 108 are designed by Fender Katsalidis who also recently completed one of the skinniest skyscrapers in the country, Phoenix on Flinders Street, which has an extraordinary aspect ratio of 1:13 at 88 metres tall.

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    While the height of the Queens Place towers and Fender Katsalidis’s growing influence on the Melbourne skyline are getting the most attention from media, for Cox and Fender Katsalidis it was the podium and the public domain strategy that was of primary concern for this project.

    “Rather than treat the public space as the space left over from the development, the design team approached the task from the opposite direction, designing the public realm first responding to existing conditions, through site connections and solar access and then placed the buildings around this space,” reads their architectural report to planning.

    “The design process has given rise to a concept that enriches the ground plane with new connections and an enhanced public realm within the Queen Victoria Market Precinct.”

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    Atop the podium are the two towers, which the architects say are shaped and sculpted by design drivers from within and around the site. They step as they ascend and are completely glazed in blue glass from the bottom-up to the tower’s crown. The crown will consist of a four storey glazed parapet that will glow gold courtesy of bronze finishes and a yellow-clad plant behind the parapet.

    Along with some 1,700 apartments, the towers will have four large swimming pools, saunas, spas and gyms, a home theatre, communal kitchens, karaoke rooms and a dedicated yoga studio.

    It will include 554 car parking and 603 bicycle spaces and have a total GFA of 176,217sqm.

    Images: Cox Architecture and Fender Katsalidis

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