Southbank by Beulah: Coop Himmelb(l)au & Architectus - The Beulah Propeller City

Southbank by Beulah: Coop Himmelb(l)au & Architectus - The Beulah Propeller City
Southbank by Beulah: Coop Himmelb(l)au & Architectus - The Beulah Propeller City today takes a closer look at the penultimate entry in the "Southbank by Beulah" design competition - Beulah Propeller City - by Coop Himmelb(l)au and Architectus.

According to the architects, The Propeller City has been designed as a recognisable architectural landmark which attempts to redefine the residential, commercial, retail and public open-space environments of Melbourne via a new high-rise typology.

As part of this strategy, the design boasts a dramatic silhouette and formal composition unlike the typical extruded podium-tower typology prevalent throughout Melbourne's Southbank.

The public space is shared between an outdoor cinema and a huge public space which is called the "Red Carpet Area", which functions programatically as the reception area for the building.

The Red Carpet Area has been designed in the round with an access ramp which leading visitors along a double cone to reach the reception hall. Each of the two areas are capped with monumental roofs - the largest measuring 60 x 120m and cantilevering 85m.

Southbank by Beulah: Coop Himmelb(l)au & Architectus - The Beulah Propeller City
The Beulah Propeller City proposal as viewed from City Road. Image: Coop Himmelb(l)au + Architectus

Our vision for Beulah PROPELLER CITY is the creation of a vertical city composed of multiple functions intertwined in a fluid gesture of vertically linked public spaces. The “Gestalt” of the structural, material and functional components of the design will create a memorable and unmistakable icon in the city-scape.

The concept of “public benefits”, which in the traditional sense generates the creation of a multifunctional building, is further developed and expanded: we create real public spaces within a multifunctional structure.

More than a tower. Its time to design a new typology for a highrise. 

- Coop Himmelb(l)au

The design team approached the building form in the same manner an artist would a sculpture;  Beginning with the maximum possible building envelope, the client’s brief, planning regulations, the existing urban form, climate and views to and from site were all considered and informed the specific 'carvings' and manipulations which collectively resulted in the dynamic urban form.

The Propeller City is characterised by different districts which reflect their respective programmatic functions, with interfaces created  between these areas to promote and facilitate connections and shared spaces, which provides legibility and an identifiable trait.

Atria, terraces, community facilities and amenity spaces such as recreational and public areas for leisure, pleasure and circulation are all accommodated with the building envelope.

These spaces provide points of orientation or landmarks for visitors and residents within the building, encouraging interactions to assist in promoting the concept of community. 

The result of this approach is a unified composition of identifiable building elements comprising low, mid an high-rise volumes created by dividing the program of the building into its four main functional parts; public podium, office, hotel and apartment tower.

Through the design of the external primary structure, the internal construction elements are optimised and reduced to enable maximum flexibility for current uses as well as allowing for potential adaptability in the future.

This structure for future adaptability is a primary expression of the architectural design and one of the identifiable features of the building.

At its summit the tower is crowned with a propeller like structure accommodating the building's communal facilities, providing a unique visual element on Melbourne's skyline and representing a departure from the traditionally flat roof forms found throughout the city.

Southbank by Beulah: Coop Himmelb(l)au & Architectus - The Beulah Propeller City
The Propeller City at street level. Image: Coop Himmelb(l)au + Architectus


  • Value: AUD 2 billion
  • GFA/ Area: 248,410 sqm
  • Height: 92-storeys / 335m


  • Structural Engineering: B+G Ingenieure, Bollinger und Grohmann GmbH​​
  • Urban Planning: Ethos Urban
  • Engineering/Structural Design/MEP: ARUP
  • Energy Design: Brian Cody
  • placemaking: Village Well
  • Landscape: TCL
  • Retail: Benoy
  • Cultural Consultant: Timmah Ball
  • Urban Art: UAP
  • Wayfinding: Büro North
  • Cost Management: Rider Levett Bucknall
  • Building Surveyor: du Chateau Chun

The winning design for the “Southbank by Beulah” competition will be announced on August 8th, 2018.

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.

Coop Himmelb(l)au Architectus Southbank by Beulah Beulah International Future Cities Symposium Southbank 118 City Road


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