Planning Application: 278 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

278 Lt Lonsdale Street Melbourne. © Peddle Thorp
278 Lt Lonsdale Street Melbourne. © Peddle Thorp

Today we look at a planning application for a 59-storey residential tower on the site of Phillip Shirts at 274-276 Little Lonsdale Street. The Peddle Thorp-designed tower would join two other recent projects for Brady Corp in Melbourne Sky and Melbourne Star as it shares a boundary and obscures the latter's eastern wall.

Planning Application: 278 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Current Phillips Shirts building on site. © Peddle Thorp

Approval is sought to demolish the majority of an existing three storey brick building to accommodate the apartment tower. The existing façade will be retained along the Little Lonsdale Street frontage and will continue along Zevenboom Lane for approximately 17.4 metres. A good outcome considering it has been identified as having little heritage significance.

Whilst it is noted this façade has not been heritage listed, it is considered that this existing façade contributes positively to the streetscape (including in terms of scale and rhythm of window openings) and is worthy of retention to enhance the streetscape address of the site. Furthermore, its adaption will form an appealing feature of the proposed development scheme at the site.

Urbis Planning Report

A wrap of two ground level retail tenancies addresses the Little Lonsdale Street and Zevenboom Lane corner. The main entry lobby, loading facilities and other ancillary services complete the ground floor with bicycle parking and car parking reserved for the four basement levels.

Planning Application: 278 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Retained facade to Little Lonsdale Street and Zevenboom Lane © Peddle Thorp

Urban Context

The proposal lies in a quarter of the city currently undergoing a significant transformation with projects such as Eporo Tower, Carlson Tower and Latrobe Tower to the immediate north and 380 Lonsdale Street to the south. 278 Little Lonsdale would be one of the taller buildings in the area as illustrated by the diagram below:

Planning Application: 278 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Existing building heights diagram. © Peddle Thorp

This wouldn't be of concern unless you factor in the site footprint relative to some of the other towers of similar height. At 735sqm the site is significantly smaller than the foortprints of Melbourne Central and the future development at 380 Lonsdale Street. These towers also have frontages along major CBD streets whereas the development is within a largely small scale 'neighbourhood' defined by red brick low-rise buildings bisected by a network of laneways.

The Tower

The main tower element rising behind the retained facade shares an aesthetic quality with its older yet shorter siblings to the west. Sheer glazed curtain walls are interrupted by the revealing of balconies behind.

Similarly to Australia 108 the facade features a stripped gradation from top to bottom with the stripes becoming incrementally more contracted towards the tower's pinnicale. This volume above a 'podium' with a furrier treatment involves a bronze coloured veil similar to original designs for another Peddle Thorp design, Vision tower at 500 Elizabeth Street. This splash of colour continues to the western boundary of the tower in the form of solid spandrels which rise up the remainder of the tower.

Planning Application: 278 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
278 Lt Lonsdale Street in situ. © Peddle Thorp

Project Summary

  • Building height: 59-storeys, 186m to top of plant
  • Retention of Phillips Shirts' facade
  • 314 apartments in total
  • 127 x 1 Bed, 144 x 2 Bed, 43 x 3 Bed
  • 42 car spaces serviced via car stacker system to basement levels 2-4
  • 94 Bicycle spaces to basement level 1
  • 158sqm of ground floor retail

Comment

The proposed development continues the recent trend of large scale high-rises encroaching on the relatively low scale streetscapes which define Melbourne's 'Little' streets and laneways. I've always been a proponent for skyscrapers in the CBD, I won't shy away from that fact, however I don't consider developments of this scale to be appropriate responses to the character and grain of these areas.

The footprints of these sites is generally much smaller than the larger sites on the primary CBD streets. This results in narrow skyscrapers with two shared boundaries that if built to the extremity as usually tends to occur, creates a 'wall' effect that is amplified on much smaller streets from a pedestrian perspective.

I don't consider this to be a desirable outcome and would invite anyone to tell me otherwise or convince me that these are the type of streets we wish to create moving forward. The benchmark for development in these smaller scale streets should be the more modest additions found on McKillop Street or Hardware Lane - unobtrusive yet worth tilting your head up to appreciate. Leave the big towers to the major streets and their intersections.

Project Team

  • Developer: 278 Little Lonsdale Pty Ltd
  • Architecture: Peddle Thorp
  • Planning: Urbis
  • ESD: SBE
  • Traffic: Cardno
  • Waste: Wastech

Laurence Dragomir

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.

Tags: 
Planning applications Peddle Thorp

Comments (10)

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bilby
Here's what we are really losing with this destructive "development" - one of Melbourne's old world red brick laneways with the highest potential for renewal and activation. So much for Melbourne's valued lane scapes: [img]https://s16.postimg.org/fyxkgwodx/Screen_Shot_2017-05-14_at_11.05.11_am.png[/img] [img] https://s16.postimg.org/fxj19qx6d/Screen_Shot_2017-05-14_at_11.05.34_am.png[/img] [img]https://postimg.org/image/kuwluuz5d/[/img] [img] https://postimg.org/image/a9cqiustt/[/img] [img]https://s16.postimg.org/sxus66jqt/Screen_Shot_2017-05-14_at_11.06.24_am.png [/img]
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bilby
No we don't. Heritage overlays are like any other kind of design overlay - they place controls on the ways that heritage buildings can be modified by owners. They offer a quite a good deal of flexibility in terms of altering buildings, and they themselves can be modified or abolished, depending on government requirements and social expectations (one only has to look at recent development in Melbourne to know that this is true). What Riccardo seemed to be suggesting was that we delimit some areas as "no go"for future heritage overlays.
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George D
There is no market. Just people who want to buy and sell things. "you can't (or shouldn't) prescribe rules about what people value or don't value 50, 100 or 150 years ahead of time." Well, we do. We decide that the built form of 70-170 years ago is to be prescribed over future living and working patterns indefinitely.
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bilby
Riccardo, your ideas are curious. You seem to be suggesting that historic buildings have no place in the "modern age" (however we define it - arguably "modern" began in the 1700s). Had we gone down the route proposed, yes, we would have had one of the most intact and remarkable Victorian cities in the world, with the "modern" city sitting to one side. But there would still be arguments about what to retain and what to demolish in both the old and "new" urban areas as time went on. La Defense is only 50 years old, so it is only now entering the period where citizens might start to look at the heritage of its buildings. With the new plan for La Defense in preparation now (a kind of urban renewal plan, ironically!) it will be interesting to see how this debate develops. The whole point about heritage, however, is that it evolves with society - you can't (or shouldn't) prescribe rules about what people value or don't value 50, 100 or 150 years ahead of time. "The market" is no more sacrosanct than any other dimension of our society - it is a function of human laws, values and movements, as much as our built environment is a function of them. As a society, we make all kinds of decisions about when and how to overrule market forces all the time. Who knows, we might one day decide to abolish or adapt "the market" as we understand it today. Of course some would you wish to "preserve" aspects of the market for future generations, arguing that it is good for society to do so. But we wouldn't want to see the market as a museum piece, forever preserved as sacrosanct and unchanging, would we?
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bilby
Yes, that would have been a reasonable idea. I'm not sure that heritage advocates would have such a problem with demolishing certain historic buildings if we were seeing quality contemporary design replacing them, however. Unfortunately in the main, in terms of their design and liveability characteristics, the historic offers much more to our contemporary cities than the new.
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