Magic Melbourne, a skyscraper concept with a philanthropic purpose

Magic Melbourne, a skyscraper concept with a philanthropic purpose
Magic Melbourne, a skyscraper concept with a philanthropic purpose

I freely admit I was sceptical at first.  An enormous tower on a tiny little site on the northern side of La Trobe Street.  "Hold on, isn't that zoned capital city zone? How on earth would that get past plot ratio rules?"

"And surely, you'd only be able to get an apartment or two per floor - it's a bit much.  Property economic - how will it work with this?"

Well, scratch all that because my colleague Laurence Dragomir sat down with Dylan Brady from deciBel Architecture recently to talk about the concept, including its purpose.

The project is still very much motivated by profit, however, it's about what the profit from the development will be used for.  And no, it's not for a list of shareholders but for an endowment fund run by the Royal Society of Victoria.

The RSV has a decorated history, Brady explains, being the oldest such society in the country and which during the gold rush era was the headquarters of all the engineers and innovators in a very young Melbourne.

Melbourne's water and sewerage system, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne's railways - the Royal Society of Victoria had a hand in many of the city's early utility, transport and cultural infrastructure.

Fast forward to today and the society has been on a long and slow decline with a diminishing funding base and the tall building that's garnered so many headlines, even though a planning application has not been lodged, will be done in the spirit of the Royal Society of Victoria - to recapitalise and generate a permanent endowment fund.

The permanent endowment fund is designed to allow the society to be the interface between the commercially-driven university precincts as well as fund an outreach program for the communities of Victoria.  RSV, in an equitable way, wants to facilitate, distribute and deliver increased science, engineering, mathematics and arts education throughout every school in the state.

Magic Melbourne, a skyscraper concept with a philanthropic purpose
Magic Melbourne concept at 1 Victoria Street

Dylan Brady explained deciBel was working with wind engineer Bill Melbourne on the slim concept for the tiny wedge site that has an address of 1 Victoria Street.

The Victoria-Melbourne nods and references don't stop there, Grocon, synonymous with Melbourne's tallest buildings, is onboard, aiding the project team and Brady mentioned the original concept's constructability was based around jump-form, pioneered by the Grollo family.

Brady sees this kind of development as a new model - specifically, profit motivated, not for shareholders but philanthropic purposes.

To fully appreciate the background of the concept we're adding last week's podcast below.  Don't forget, you can subscribe to our podcast through your favourite podcast app so that you will hear them as soon as we publish.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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Melbcity's picture
It will be known as Melbourne's Sun Dial Pointer. All we need to do is plot the shadow as it moves across the city at various times of the day during the year. If we decide on planning applications based on who profits we lose the essence of planning. The profits are in the accounting and the one that profits the most s Grocon.

Melbcity

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