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    Standing in a row: lovely bunch of towers popping up in Brisbane’s new residential precinct

    Nathan Johnson

    A new residential precinct near Brisbane’s Botanical Gardens is quickly growing, both up and out, and looming as a potential new heart of the city.  

    In particular, the square block formed by Mary, Edward, Alice and Albert Streets and intersected by Margaret Street in the CBD is set to undergo a dramatic transformation in the way of a handful of new residential towers designed by leading Australian architects.  

    It wasn’t long ago that it was announced that a 274-metre-high by Noel Robinson Architects (NRA) called ‘Skytower’ had broken ground at 222 Margaret Street. That was quickly followed by news that another 274-metre emerald-green residential tower by Cox Rayner had been approved for the nearby 30 Albert Street.

    Then it was Woods Bagot’s turn. In November, 2015 Australia’s largest architecture firm lodged a DA for a 135 metre mixed-use building at 111 Mary Street which sits directly behind Skytower. 

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    Stacking up: Woods Bagot’s 111 Mary Street (top), NRA’s Four Points Hotel and Skytower, and Cox Rayner’s 240 Margaret Street are all on the same block. Cox Rayner’s 30 Albert and Wood Marsh’s 140 Albion Tower are also within eyeshot (bottom).
    Below: Cox Rayner’s 240 Margaret Street (top left) Wood Marsh’s Albion Tower (top middle), NRA’s Skytower (left), 111 Mary Street by Woods Bagot (bottom middle) and Cox Rayners 30 Albert Street (bottom left).


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    There are other projects on the way or recently completed in the precinct as well.  Wood Marsh’s 40-storey Abian Tower at 140 Alice Street is currently under construction and a 110 metre Four Points Hotel by NRA opened last year at 99 Mary Street, adjacent to Sky Tower.

    But media attention of late has focussed on fresh plans from Cox Rayner to develop another 274 metre tower right next door to Skytower at 240 Margaret Street. Like Skytower, 30 Albert and Wood Marsh’s Abian Tower, 240 Margaret rejects the box tower typology through a highly curvilinear form.

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    NRA’s Skytower (left) next to Cox Rayners 240 Margaret Street (right). Images: Cox Rayner

    The tower is characterised by its bowtie-shaped floorplates and a glazed curtain wall of dark blue glass that curves on the corners and is broken by horizontal channels and portions of hit and miss glazing. Like Skytower, the tower element has been divvied up into three-residential sections separated by recreational levels. It will accommodate a total of 783 units the majority of which will be two bedrooms.

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    Image: Cox Rayner

    The podium looks more like Woods Bagot’s111 Mary Street than it does NRA’s Skytower and is said to reference the rock cliffs of nearby Kangaroo Point. It is built to all but one of the site’s boundaries and is articulated through panels, blades and recess systems that emulate the texture of a cliff.  It will feature 720sqm of retail/commercial space.

    The project’s DA is currently being considered by Brisbane City Council.

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