mmm couldn't find an existing thread
Images © AXF Group / Buchan Group
L66 (also 67) restaurant with separate lift
The ground level treatment is easily one of the best I've seen!
I collect, therefore I am.
I'm excited with this project and I hope it gets passed by Matt Guy.
Please build this.will look good in this part of the CBD.
The quality (or otherwise) of this building is largely irrelevant. It is being proposed for a height controlled planning zone, on the site of a building with a high level heritage grading in the local planning scheme (and which has recently been nominated for heritage listing with the Heritage Council of Victoria). In what sense does this represent good (or even legal) planning? What should other property owners in the immediate vicinity conclude about Victoria's planning laws if this is approved? That they are arbitrary, according to the whims of the Planning Minister (which, I suppose they are)? Whatever the quality of the proposed development, this is no way to plan a city or run a planning system.
Here is the current heritage statement for Total House:
And here's a quote from the listing on i-heritage:
"Melbourne's most significant Japanese Brutalist design, achieving empathy with the style without plagiarism. Also a distinctive treatment of an adventurous use combination, unmatched in form elsewhere in Victoria if not Australia."
And yet it has all the qualities the current planning scheme looks to discourage...
mind you the planning scheme also heavily encourages active frontages, do you suggest we knock out the ground floors of all our stone Victorian buildings for transparent shopfronts?
The planning scheme is all about new buildings and not retroactively applying it to heritage (mostly).
The tower might (though it looks largely like blank spaces in those renders) improve the street in terms of the planning scheme, but ignores the planning scheme in terms of height, heritage, setback etc., so I don't think its a net win. and exactly, if you let a tower in here despite all the planning discouraging it, what is to stop every other site in chinatown becoming a skyscraper?
What is to stop every other site in chinatown becoming a skyscraper?
Hmmmm, it might look interesting!
Rather than looking at the proposal and the current building in isolation, in cases such as this they should both be considered against a set of criteria.
Despite what bilby believes what you replace another building with is just as important and possibly more critical than the building being replaced. If this was done in the 50's and 60's we may not have lost the western market for National Mutual, the fish markets for a car park or the Federal Coffee Palace for Enterprise House.
Well yes exactly, thats why we have a planning scheme. In isolation this tower design might be attractive, but against a set or criteria designed for the CBD, it completely ignores many criteria and will lead to more precedent,
I don't quite understand your argument, All of those buildings were seen by many as having dubious to no heritage value in the 60's, so going by the same logic that allows demolition of Total House, all of them would be knocked down too, for what at the time was seen as improvement
Melbourne-Fragments, you are spot on here. Also, Collector, you are most amusing - yet ironic. That Bladerunner(esque?) image features mainly heritage style buildings in the foreground - it actually looks a lot like Collins Street in the old days!
The following link might be of interest for anyone considering the history of "improvements" on significant old buildings in Melbourne. As Melbourne_Fragments says, it wasn't so long ago that old Victorian buildings were just seen as a liability and a drain on owner's resources. They needed to comply with new fire regulations, they needed upgrades of all kinds and the old "brick piles" just simply didn't deliver the sort of floorspace desired by their new owners and developers. So … they knocked them over. And now Melbourne is so much the poorer for all that pointless destruction. Those who believe Total House should be bowled over for another glass tower, despite knowing what we know about its architectural and cultural significance, would seem to fit in very well indeed with the beliefs of these dinosaurs of Melbourne's cultural past:
Hey Bilby are you Danno as well?(owner of Marvmelb.blogspot)
If so, how about crediting me for the use of so many of my images from my website in the link above.
LOL. @ comparing Total carpark with the likes of the Federal etc.
'architectural and cultural significance'. lol.
It's like saying an old beat up VB commodore is as valuable and significant as a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO.
What I'm suggesting isn't rocket science, Melbourne Fragments - but I can't help but get the feeling you don't want to understand so I'm not going to bother.
I get where you're coming from but beyond a questionable connection to Japanese Brutalism and a sprinkling of some various uses at street level it doesn't make a positive contribution to the streetscape.
For what it's worth, it will look great coming into the city via St Kilda Rd.
Hi Peter / "Danno" - I provided a link to your website, but I don't think I used any of your images in my post, as such. I'm certainly happy to credit you as owner of the site now that I know, though. This is the only information I could see on the site, though:
About the author: "Danno is a simple man who lives in an unfortified compound in Melbourne and spends a lot of time staring into space. He blames all of his many problems on the state of the modern Labor party and, to a lesser extent, the Melbourne Demons." From: http://marvmelb.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/melbournes-wonderful-demolished....
^^ You misunderstood (starting to become a comedy of errors) the person called Danno (not me, who I thought may be you) has used many of my images (about 90%) on that blog and no mention of The Collector's Marvellous Melbourne (my website).
So it's obvious now you are not Danno, so all is cool.
I'm sorry please explain your argument in another way if you don't mind Laurence. I'm genuinely interested.
All I can see by looking at the proposed design via a set of criteria (the Melbourne Planning scheme, and surrounding area) is that is it is wholly inappropriate for this site, and an attractive (though bland podium IMO) design isn't necessarily worth losing something that's been identified as having heritage significance.
The questionable connection to Japanese Brutalism isn't really questionable, it's quite obvious, and again the heritage report argues this quite well, especially with comparitive examples from Japan.
BTW, do you think the new podium is much better for the street? It just looks like much less space for small shopfronts/uses than now, replaced by what they call a plaza, but is more likely to be just a glorified hotel lobby entry. It would only take minor adjustments to Total to make it much better at street level anyway.
You know in that Seinfeld episode where Jerry tries to book a rental car, and when he gets to the counter, he finds that they haven't held his reservation? I see the issue of whether to abide by the rules of a planning scheme as a bit like holding a reservation - we all know what the planning scheme is … but it seems that many stakeholders (including the Minister for Planning) don't how to hold to the planning scheme.
Alot of parallels are drawn between Total and Kenzo Tange's Kagawa Town Hall but the significance seems limited to an inspired (or poorly imitated) balustrade detail.
Had the building been designed by Tange the detailing would have been far more sophisticated in its execution. It also suffers from being implemented on a car park rather than a civic structure.
As for the office pod it lacks the purity of Kikutake's museum. The attempt at marrying these two elements together is also quite clumsy in its execution.
Overall despite the best intentions of the architect the result is a Frankenstein, made up of poor man's Japanese Brutalist inspired elements.
Now what I was getting at earlier is the Design Review Panel (for example) exists to provide the government with independent advice on proposals, such as this. They should review both buildings against a set of criteria beyond just what the planning scheme requires - architectural, urban design, building code compliance etc. A recommendation should then be made based on the assessment.
Design excellence across a range of parameters should be met and that's where the planning scheme fails. Height should be a secondary consideration and not the be all and end all but in the end it always seems to come down to height.
In relation to your question about the new podium vs total car park - the introduction of a a weather protected civic space with trees that softens an otherwise harsh built environment is a good move in my opinion as is the proposed mix of uses across the five levels of the podium, resulting in a much more activated street corner.
One criticism I have of the proposed scheme is the interruption of the street by the vehicular access driveway off Russell Street.
I think the lack of setbacks to the tower is overcome by the fact there is still a clear distinction in how the tower and podium elements are expressed - you wouldn't read it as a single shear volume rising up from the site.
I think I've probably blabbed on enough for one night.
'Ugly' car park in heritage legal fight
The owners of a 1960s Chinatown car park have challenged its controversial heritage listing, arguing such protection is ‘‘irrational’’ while fighting to build a hotel tower on the site.
The Total House car park on Russell Street, once labelled ‘‘ugly’’ by Planning Minister Matthew Guy, secured a place on the heritage register in April due to its cultural significance.
The building, completed in 1965, is made up of seven concrete decks of above-ground parking, a nightclub, and a small box-shaped office. It’s considered to be an early example of Brutalist architecture in Victoria and a key site from the post-war car ownership boom.
But the site’s new owner, AXF Group, is fighting the heritage listing and wants to demolish the car park to build a glittering skyscraper.
In legal documents filed in the Victorian Supreme Court, the developer's lawyers argue the heritage listing process was flawed on over a dozen grounds.
The Heritage Council of Victoria should have taken economic issues into account, thus making the listing ‘‘irrational, illogical or not based on findings or inferences of fact supported by logical grounds,’’ according to the court documents.
The developer’s lawyer, Stuart Morris, QC, told court on Friday that while development plans had stalled, wind tunnelling tests were still continuing.
The National Trust’s Paul Roser said the emerging legal battle could be a key moment in heritage protection. ‘‘The fight is clearly on to preserve our significant post-war modernist legacy,’’ he said.
The site was snapped up by AXF in 2012, reportedly for $40 million, and has been listed as ‘‘Sovereign Plaza’’ in legal filings. Early plans for the site show a 70-storey hotel and apartment tower decorated in gold and silver, but only if the car park can be torn down.
With its distinctive design, the Heritage Council found the existing car park was a ‘‘landmark’’ while the nightclub, most recently known as Billboard, was ‘‘the most extravagant nightclub experience in the city’’ when it opened nearly 40 years ago.
Melbourne Heritage Action Group originally nominated Total House for the heritage register. Spokesman Tristan Davies said the developer's economic arguments were already tested during the heritage listing process.
"It doesn't have to remain as a car park. There could be a few adapted reuses for it," he said.
CBRE property director Mark Wizel said the case wouldn’t deter other Chinese investors from buying up 1960s-era buildings out of fear of facing a similar heritage battle. That's because property owners still have an avenue of appeal, he said.
‘‘This shows the transparency of our planning system and our legal system," he said.
A hearing for a court challenge is not expected until early next year.
With Aisha Dow
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/ugly-car-park-in-heritage-legal-fight-...
Richard Gu to lure Sixth Sense
PROLIFIC Melbourne-based developer Richard Gu’s AXF Group is negotiating to bring luxury international hotel brand Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas to Australia while also creating its own serviced apartment label.
Talks are being held with the boutique Six Senses to operate a proposed hotel at AXF’s Total House car park site in Melbourne’s Chinatown, according to industry sources.
AXF bought the Russell Street site in 2012. It was placed on the Victorian heritage register earlier in the year, reportedly due to being one of the earliest examples of Butalist architecture in the city.
While this put a question mark over the site’s development potential, it is understood that AXF is pushing forward its plan, which is expected to include a 70-storey hotel and apartment building.
The Six Senses brand, which was established in 1995, has 27 hotels in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Many of the hotels are in regional locations, but also it also has presence in cities such as Paris and London.
Sources said that AXF would likely role out the brand in a number of its Australian developments, rather than just at the Total House site.
Mr Gu declined to comment on the Six Senses negotiations yesterday. But he revealed to The Australian that AXF was aiming to launch its own serviced apartment brand, So Stay, in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Sources told The Australian that the Six Sense hotel and the So Stay serviced apartments would likely feature many of the same developments.