MAKO make their mark in Fishermans Bend: 118 Bertie Street, Port Melbourne

MAKO make their mark in Fishermans Bend: 118 Bertie Street, Port Melbourne
Mark BaljakAugust 19, 2016

A fresh presence has brought a new design perspective to Fishermans Bend in the form of a planning application for 118 Bertie Street, Port Melbourne. With the majority of the development team behind the intended 18 level tower based in New South Wales, the result is a design that distinguishes itself from the majority of the pack within the fledgling Urban Renewal Area.

118 Bertie Street represents Sydney-based MAKO Architecture's first listing in the Project Database; the same can be said for Lateral Estate with the Fishermans Bend application their first project in Melbourne as developer/builder.

The conceived tower form coupled with an almost eccentric exterior allows 118 Bertie Street to sharply depart from the norm within Fishermans Bend, where many intended towers to date employ clean curtain glazed exteriors.

More pertinent to Fishermans Bend's strategic planning goals, 118 Bertie Street acknowledges the Fishermans Bend Strategic Framework Plan (April 2015) and has been designed with the Better Apartments Discussion Paper (May 2015) objectives in mind.

118 Bertie Street application summary

MAKO make their mark in Fishermans Bend: 118 Bertie Street, Port Melbourne
Design and greenery combind over 118 Bertie Street's exterior. Image: MAKO Architecture
  • Application lodged: June 2016
  • 3,031sqm site currently utilised as a warehouse
  • Proposed 18 level tower at 67.9 metres
  • 264 apartments: 8 x studio, 115 x 1BR, 111 x 2BR, 30 x 3BR
  • 554sqm of commercial space over four tenancies
  • 191sqm of communal recreational space
  • 191 car spaces & 303 bicycle bays
  • GFA: 32,954sqm
  • Estimated development cost: $66 million

Design Statement

This design proposal has been conceived of as an activator for the local community and a signal of the future residential neighbourhood. The design intentionally seeks to maximise the available envelope to provide additional density and vibrancy to the public domain surrounding the proposal. The design is able to straddle the varying context of the building over time, and throughout the at present unknown context of the future open space network.

The podium is conceived of as a visually distinctive landmark in the short term context of the light industrial area. It should be a herald of the future and begin to suggest the change in use to a vibrant residential neighbourhood and address the future green linear park. The podium combines three strong elements; textural patterned mesh, varyingly proportioned active windows to the podium apartments, and large scale “green” openings screening the resident parking beyond.

The tower is a carefully modulated distinctive object appearing as a sharp black onyx piece contrasted against the sky. A subtle variation of black and bronze glazing starts to break down the monolithic quality of the broad facade and begins to give direction and movement to the composition. The tower adopts a fluidity, with the reflective qualities of dark glazing surrounding north, east, south and west frontages.

MAKO Architecture: Urban Context Report
MAKO make their mark in Fishermans Bend: 118 Bertie Street, Port Melbourne
118 Bertie Street's envisaged street level integration. Image: MAKO Architecture

The above image is perhaps best mirrors early concept sketches that were bandied about for Fishermans Bend during its planning infancy.

The development team have gone to great lengths to ensure the tower's podium is front and square in terms of adhering to design ideals, likening the podium to a beacon in that it was conceived as a visually distinctive landmark in the existing context of the light industrial area. Project landscape architects NBRS+Partner have established a green zone as part of the project that aligns directly with the open space network as described in the Fishermans Bend Strategic Framework Plan.

Further the Bertie Street frontage is activated at ground level by way of Soho apartments that have the ability to be used as either home offices, or retail spaces depending upon demand.

The tower itself consists of the irregular placement of geometric forms to create an interesting and innovative design response. At the ground floor, the building will appear almost entirely glazed with the podium above treated with grey brickwork or a copper coloured perforated screening, used to hide the internal car park from street view.

The tower form above appears to be separated into different structural elements, breaking up the built form and softening its appearance. The tower façade is treated with dark grey and bronze tinted glazing with black, bronze and champagne coloured metal framing.

Urbis: Town Planning Report

The Port Melbourne proposal also includes 30 three bedroom dwellings, a disproportionately high number relative to many of the adjoining developments slated for Fishermans Bend.

118 Bertie Street development team

  • Developer: Lateral Estate
  • Architecture: MAKO Architecture
  • Planning: Urbis
  • Landscape Architect: NBRS+Partner
  • Traffic Engineer: TTPA
  • Waste Management: Elephants Foot
  • Sustainable Design: ARK Resources
  • Acoustic Engineer: Acoustic Logic
  • BCA Consultant: McKenzie Group

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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