Melbourne set to join the 300 club

Laurence DragomirOctober 26, 20140 min read

I wouldn't be surprised if in the next five or six years the height of the Eureka Tower is exceeded with a building in Melbourne, I fully expect that. I just hope it's a better looking building, a better architectural outcome than Eureka and then it deserves to be the tallest building in Melbourne.

Daniel Grollo, 'Super tower to top Eureka: Grollo', The Age, March 19, 2011.

For so long it has teased and been hinted at, with Daniel Grollo in particular predicting that a 300 metre tower in Melbourne would become a reality in the not-too-distant future. And so in 2014 we find ourselves facing the prospect of not one but four separate 300 metre plus buildings gracing the Melbourne skyline in the next few years.

In what could be described as a classic case of sibling rivalry, two Singaporean brothers appear determined to outdo one another with competing towers. A third developer has its eyes set on transforming the western edge of the Hoddle Grid while Crown/Schiavello are looking to extend the footprint of the Crown with a giant mixed-use tower.

250 Spencer Street / Ritz Carlton - Far East Consortium

Melbourne set to join the 300 club
Ritz Carlton at 250 Spencer Street. Image © Far East Consortium

Having completed two towers at Upper West Side, with another two at various stages of construction and a fifth on the verge of beginning, Far East Consortium has set its sights on its next big project at 250 Spencer Street. With demolition progressing well, the erection of a display suite earmarking the commencement of the sales and marketing campaign should occur early in the new year.

Four towers ranging in height from 205-300 metres have been approved, and the first cab off the rank would appear to be a 90-storey, 300 metre tower with Far East consortium securing Ritz-Carlton to anchor the premium hotel space located over the top 15 levels. Cottee Parker after designing all five towers at Upper West Side have also been charged with conceiving the 250 Spencer development plan.

70 Southbank Boulevard - Aspial/World Class Land

Melbourne set to join the 300 club
Australia 108. Image © Fender Katsalidis

We are all born with the ability to soar, but only the brave trusts their wings. Australia's tallest tower will go where no development has gone before, offering a cloudbreaking lifestyle 319 metres above the glittering Melbourne streetscape. With the city's amenities within easy reach below and the boundless freedom of endless sky above, those who reside here will be part of a world that few others can imagine.

Australia 108 is a highly sculptural residential tower unlike any other in Australia. Its slender form is highlighted at the Cloud Residences levels by a golden starburst expression and then morphs into a curvaceous profile against the sky. The starburst which contains the resident facilities is inspired by the Commonwealth Star on the Australian flag and is an obvious celebration of the sense of community within the building.

Karl Fender

The once 108 level, 388 metre giant has been scaled back on a number of occasions, with the final height now sitting at 319 metres and floor count at 99-storeys, following the purchase of the site by Koh Wee Seng's World Class Land. Still displaying the DNA of Eureka, the design has evolved into a much more streamlined and curvilinear form, with the 'star burst' evident in earlier schemes signaling the tower's shift from right angled to curvaceous.

The project's sales campaign is expected in the new year.

555 Collins Street - Fragrance Group

Melbourne set to join the 300 club
555 Collins Street. Image © Bates Smart

Following an unsuccessful attempt to redevelop the site in a joint venture with Grocon, property developer Harry Stamoulis sold the existing 24-storey commercial building at 555 Collins Street to Koh Mee Seng's Singapore-listed Fragrance Group for $78 million. While not aiming for the 404m height flagged by a previous commercial scheme for the site, the 83-storey tower is still proposed to rise 305 metres above the corner of Collins and King Streets - stealing the crown of the Rialto directly opposite, which has dominated the Hoddle Grid for nearly 30 years.

The contentious proposal seeks approval to overshadow the southern bank of the Yarra, much like CBUS's 447 Collins Street development. An amendment of planning controls that would have allowed the 404 metre scheme to proceed is currently being reviewed.

555 Collins St, overlooking both Southbank and the Yarra River, is perfectly positioned to create a unique destination, a place where people can truly work, live and play within a mix of office space, residential apartments and hotel environment.

The 83 storey tower splits into two intersecting rectilinear forms working in a north-south direction, reflecting the well known Melbourne grid. The twinned expression of the tower reduces the building mass and accentuates the elegant, transforming and vertical nature of the building. The sinuous form also serves to reduce the wind load effect on such a tall building, as well as softening and anchoring the mass of the building.

The facade of the building features a combination of soft transitioning forms that create openings for the office, hotel and residential apartments. The proportion and size of openings vary strategically to reflect the uses within, opening to important views and registering key datums of the surrounding context. The resulting play of patterning creates an additional layer of complexity and interest. As the openings vary and create shadow, the softness and movement of the building form is accentuated.

At street level the whole corner will be animated with activity, generated by the multiple functions of the building. Escalators provide a connection to the first level where the restaurant and hotel amenities are to be located and 24 hour concierge service will be available. The movement of the escalators both activates the space and improves safety for guests and residents.

Bates Smart

Queensbridge Tower / Crown Residences - Schiavello & Crown JV

Melbourne set to join the 300 club
Queensbridge Tower or Crown tower 4? Image © Bates Smart

The project with an ever expanding footprint and one which gained attention initially due to its proximity to residents in Freshwater Place has since expanded again in recent times, consuming the site once mooted for The Falls residential development. Maintaining the quad elliptical form of earlier iterations, the introduction of a glazed lift shaft running the height of the tower and a bridge connecting to the existing Crown Complex has seen it thrust into the spotlight again with the City of Melbourne not impressed in particular with the idea of a bridge spanning Queensbridge Street.

The Bates Smart-designed project still remains at the planning stage.


There's an argument to be made that 300 metre towers aren't necessary, but if developers keep seeking to build higher and higher within the guidelines then I certainly won't be complaining. Ultimately only Australia 108 might chart the 300m height with a final height for Far East's Ritz-Carlton tower to be confirmed and 555 Collins Street no guarantee of being approved at its current height.

Nevertheless the Melbourne skyline is about to take its next big step into the world of the Supertall.

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.
Aspial - World Class Land
Far East Consortium
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Find out more in our privacy policy.
Accept Cookies