International architects line up for Southbank's last super-sized development site

Developer Beulah International revealed yesterday it has an eye toward enlisting an international architecture firm to join the design process for its recently acquired Southbank super site.

It has been roundly reported that the Malaysian-backed developer was successful in obtaining the BMW Melbourne dealership site on the corner of Southbank Boulevard and City Road late last year. At 6,061 square metres, the sheer size of the landholding provides Beulah International with the opportunity to deliver a large-scale mixed-use development. 

Retail, hotel, residential, commercial, cultural and public spaces have been touted as possible outcomes.

According to the developer, seven international firms are already on the meet and greet list, including Pritzker prize winners. Beulah International will meet with firms in New York, Basel, Vienna, Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Amsterdam during the selection process.

Some of the firms we’re meeting with are ones often referred to throughout academia, who are responsible for setting new benchmarks and informing discussions around architecture and design philosophy. We’re thrilled to potentially bring their forward-thinking design solutions to the city we call home and to have them collaborate with an innovative Australian firm.

We’re also looking for a firm that puts public amenity at the forefront of their approach, as engaging with the community and integrating with the urban context is an important driver as a developer.

Our overarching vision is to turn the BMW site into a landmark lifestyle destination that will be recognised around the world and that contributes to the surrounding community by lifting the urban fabric to a new level.

Beulah International Executive Director Adelene Teh

As mentioned above, Beulah International is hoping to see a collaboration between an international design practice and an as yet unnamed Australian based firm. The collaborative method has been popular in recent times for big-ticket projects in Melbourne's core, as evidenced by designs such as 600 Collins Street, 383 La Trobe Street and 447 Collins Street.

Beulah will begin a shortlist process in the coming months, with shortlisted firms to partake in a design competition.

Concept render for the BMW site. Image: GoAutoNews

A fair indication of the project's scale was given during the site sales campaign. Above is the concept design created by Fender Katsalidis which included two skyscrapers above a common podium.

Mid last year Urban Melbourne modeled possible build form scenarios based upon what is allowable under planning provisions for the overly large site. Ultimately Beulah International's development will round out what already is one of Melbourne's densest city blocks which accommodates multiple towers in the 200-300 metre bracket.

Upon completion of the project, BMW Melbourne have indicated they intend to stay on at 118 City Road, taking space within the new development's podium for a state of the art showroom. 

A conceptual new home for BMW Melbourne. Image: GoAutoNews

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