Wraps are off The Altus @ 238 Harbour Esplanade
Reported some months ago through a variety of media sources after planning approval was granted, The Altus located within Melbourne's Docklands precinct has been quietly biding its time until the countdown clock (as seen below) reached zero this morning, revealing further information on the projects website. As the apartment sales campaign nears Urban Melbourne today takes a look at The Altus in further detail, particularly with the public realm in mind.
With varying figures in the media as to the final mix of hotel rooms versus apartments and project end value, developer Digital Harbour Holdings' website carries the following description, "Planning Minister Matthew Guy has granted approval to build a $300 million hotel and residential complex on the corner of Harbour Esplanade and Dudley Street at the northern end of Docklands. The new 37 level tower will sit on the block of land at 238 Harbour Esplanade, between Harbour Esplanade and Wurundjeri Way. The plans call for a complex of 299 apartments and a 4.5-star 254 room hotel together with 27 serviced apartments operated by Sheraton."
From the outset project architects Moull Murray have sought "To develop an iconic, landmark building completing the northern gateway to Docklands." While individuals generally view a building's aesthetic worth or landmark status from a distance, its true worth lies in the finer design details, amenities, and general usealbility for lack of a better word.
To that end Moull Murray have implemented a loggia through the lower levels of the complex, where "The grand stair leads into the arcade walkway, a semi internal walkway that leads to multiple entry points. This walkway can be seen as an extension of the restaurant within. Passers through will experience a slow space of “street life” which references Melbourne laneways, however activation will mostly be created by the local tower resident usage.
Bare in mind that green/public spaces will be created at either end of the elevated passage plus aspects of the The Altus' pool will be visible externally. Add a cafe, extensive landscaping and furniture incorporated into the passage and Moull Murray have done an excellent job in creating an interactive and interesting public domain; if only other areas of Docklands maintained such standards.
As stated within the planning application, Moull Murray have endeavored to "inject human activity into the podium facade where possible." Subsequently an articulated podium facade was conceived and submitted as part of the planning documents. After feedback from DPCD planners, Moull Murray refined the lower levels (seen below), adding greater variation in order to maximise viewer interest, particularly from the heavy traffic intersection of Harbour Esplanade, Dudley Street, Docklands Drive and Footscray Road.
The result is a highly interesting and articulated public interface over lower levels, with a green space separating the tower and the aforementioned intersection which maintains sight lines at ground level, something fairly uncommon within Docklands. The green wedge in effect provides a soft entry point into the complex.
Submitted plans show the podium levels feature a split between hotel rooms and one or two bedroom apartments facing east or west. These spaces for the most mask the internal above ground car parking, while the north and south aspects feature permeable patterned mesh facades allowing natural ventilation with hotel levels sitting above.
Beyond the hotel levels lie apartment floors with generic layouts from floor to floor. Originally slated for levels 15-33 one would assume now the number of floors dedicated toward apartment living has diminished somewhat due to the increase in hotel accommodation. The majority of residential levels carry a mix of one and two bedroom options, where floor area for one bed apartments generally ranges between 45-50sqm while two bed apartments generally weigh in at the 60-70sqm mark.
For the fortunate few, levels 34-35 are slated to carry sub-penthouse and penthouse apartments. Three bedroom penthouses carry a whopping 250sqm of living space with CBD and Bay views; it will be interesting to see if these are amongst the first to sell during the sales campaign, or if they are snapped up prior.
Digital Harbour Holdings director David Napier recently stated that construction is due to start during the first quarter of 2014. With the Sheraton agreement and financing in place prior to planning approval, it seems a sales campaign for the apartments is imminent. See the The Altus Vimeo below to gain a greater understanding of the project.
Tomorrow Urban Melbourne will peruse the internal images for The Altus, with particular attention paid toward the hotel component. Branded Sheraton Four Points Docklands, the renders point to high quality yet subtle serviced apartments/accommodation and facilities for residents and guests alike.