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    Wilkinson Eyre designs super-tall ‘Tower of Light’ to win Melbourne design competition

    David Wheeldon

    Wilkinson Eyre Architects have won an international competition to design a major addition to Melbourne’s Southbank with a 317-metre-tall tower concept for Crown Resorts' latest hotel proposal.

    The British architectural firm's entry was selected ahead of Australian architectural firms Bates Smart and Hassell, as well as two other international contenders shortlisted in the international design competition, Foster + Partners and Jean Nouvel.

    Dubbed by some already as the ‘Tower of Light’, the proposed building would be Australia's third tallest, rising above the 297m Eureka Tower nearby, but two metres shorter than the 319m Australia 108 residential skyscraper currently under construction in the area.

    The 90-storey Southbank tower would be five metres shorter than Australia’s tallest building, the 325 metre-tall Q1 on the Gold Coast, designed by Innovarchi.

    This week, Crown Resorts Limited and its joint venture partner Schiavello Group announced Wilkinson Eyre had won the contest to design the proposed new Queensbridge Hotel Tower and precinct.

    In 2013, Wilkinson Eyre Architects also won Crown Resorts' competition to design the 270 metre-tall, billion dollar hotel and casino tower in Barangaroo, Sydney (see a video on that design here).

    Once again, a design competition jury were unanimous in their decision to select the proposed design in Melbourne from Wilkinson Eyre.

    The proposed Queensbridge Hotel Tower would would reportedly cost $1.5 billion and:

    • Comprise a 388 room luxury six–star hotel
    • approximately 680 apartments
    • event spaces and publicly accessible restaurant, lounge and garden terrace at the top of the tower.

    151019-Crown-Melbourne1-1.jpg

    The design also provides an active streetscape and public forecourt area with retail outlets and restaurants, designed to become a new amenity for locals and visitors, connecting the ground floor of the building and hotel to the outdoors area.

    In addition to the proposed landmark hotel tower, Crown and Schiavello are also proposing a major upgrade to Queensbridge Square.

    The design concept

    Wilkinson Eyre’s solution for the Queensbridge Hotel Tower is described as “three interlocking sculptural forms providing a graceful and unique addition to the Melbourne skyline”.

    Paul Baker, Director Wilkinson Eyre said they approached the project with the ambition to create an “elegant and timeless building that will become a new, world-class landmark against the Melbourne skyline”.

    “All across the world we are seeing cities embrace iconic developments as they vie for their share of international tourists.”

    “We are confident that the design of the proposed Hotel and the ’one of a kind’ offerings like the ’Sky Bar’ at the top of the tower will be ‘must see’ destinations in Melbourne. We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to design what we believe will be an outstanding addition to the world’s most liveable city,’’ Baker said.

    Crown Resorts Executive Director, James Packer, thanked the judging panel and congratulated Wilkinson Eyre on their appointment.

    "Wilkinson Eyre have designed a beautiful and elegant building that is destined to be an important addition to the Melbourne skyline,” he said.

    Schiavello Group Chairman, Tony Schiavello thanked all of the participating architects.

    “It was a very competitive design process, with some of the world’s and region’s best known architects involved. The calibre of all five firms in the process shows how special the city of Melbourne is and its’ prominence on the world stage. This site deserves a truly special building and our vision is to create a landmark building that has international appeal, timeless form and design.”

    “We want to create a place that people are proud to call home,” Schiavello said.

    The proposed Queensbridge Hotel Tower development remains subject to planning approval, project financing and the finalisation of long form joint venture documentation between Crown and Schiavello.

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