The beginning of the end: No.1 Collins Wharf

The beginning of the end: No.1 Collins Wharf
Laurence DragomirJune 8, 2016

Submitted to town planning last year Lend Lease's new 29-storey, $106 million residential development will comprise 321 apartments, 290 car parks, 312 bike spaces and 68 square metres of ground floor retail space.

Designed by Bates Smart, the 90 metre tower was considered by Council's Future Melbourne(Planning) Committee which resolved to support the proposal. With frontages to Collins Street, the proposed Bourke Dock public space and the Yarra, Council have urged Lend Lease to increase the amount of retail space to these key interfaces.

The predominantly residential building (one ground floor retail tenancy) is contrary to the Development Plan which contemplated human services/mixed use at its interface with Bourke Dock; retail along Collins Street and commercial uses along the Yarra River interface.

The wintergarden on the shorter Collins Street/Buluk Park alignment is inactive. These departures from the use create a solely residential building with portions of inactive frontages to the public realm, rather than a mixed use building.

Future Committee Report
The beginning of the end: No.1 Collins Wharf
No.1 Collins Wharf in context. Image courtesy Aspect + Oculus

Located within the Victoria Harbour Precinct at the junction of Bourke and Collins Streets, No.1 Collins Wharf marks the first stage of Wharf Quarter and acts as the gateway to the Collins Wharf precinct of the peninsula. Comprising five residential towers accommodating approximately 1,500 dwellings and a number of parks and boutique offices, Collins Wharf will be built atop a finger wharf extending out into Victoria Harbour and the Yarra River.

After the best part of 15 years at construction, Collins Wharf forms the final stage of Lend Lease's Victoria Harbour Precinct.

The beginning of the end: No.1 Collins Wharf
Artist's impression of Collins Wharf. Image courtesy of Collins Wharf Development Plan.

The 24-storey (72 metre) tower sits atop a 5-storey (18 metre) high podium which contains parking and a wrap of apartments - traditional and SOHO - to key interfaces across all levels. The ground floor accommodates resident lobby and facilities plus a 68m2 retail tenancy.

The large podium is expressed as smaller elements within, reading as a number of taller townhouses rather than a slab of a building. The podium is generally constructed to all site boundaries, with the exception of an approximately four metre setback from the north (Collins Street), increasing to approximately 5.7 metres at level three and 11.3 metres at level four.

The tower is a tall slender form which has generous setbacks to the north and south and also from the future development site to to the west. It breaks through the podium, interrupting the rhythm of the podium and addressing Bourke Dock while creating a sense of entry into the building. This design move was criticised by Council's urban design team:

The Collins Street building alignment does not make a positive address on the short Collins Street / Buluk Park alignment by not being built on the boundary and not being orientated to the street and Buluk Park. The tower form meets at the junction of Collins Street and Bourke Dock, resulting in an oblique alignment.

The tower will appear as a side “end” of a tower, not a front “face”, and does not positively address Collins Street and Buluk Park.

No.1 Collins Wharf is expressed as two slender, sleek rectilinear volumes offset from one another with a strong vertical articulation that is juxtaposed with occasional expression of horizontal terraces and recessed balconies. Each of these volumes also has setbacks, occurring at levels 12 and 16 respectively resulting in a somewhat animated tower form that appears as two volumes in motion both vertically and horizontally with the east facade, creating "a measurable backdrop to the civic space of Buluk Park and announces the start of the Collins Wharf Precinct."

The beginning of the end: No.1 Collins Wharf
No.1 Collins Wharf hero perspective. Image courtesy Lend Lease

In addition to No.1 Collins Wharf, a 5.5 metre wide public promenade separated from the southern edge of the building by a 5.7 metre wide passage of water is proposed. To be known as Yarra Walk, the promenade would be a shared zone for cyclists and pedestrians and also provide access for small service vehicles.

By the numbers

  • Total number of dwellings: 321 in townhouse style dwellings, apartments and SOHO’s
    • One bedroom: 90
    • Two bedroom: 201
    • Three bedroom: 30
  • Ground level retail: 68m2 Leasable Floor Area
  • Overall Building Height: 90.22m / Podium Height: 18.53m
  • North (Collins Street): 13.5m / South (Yarra River): 21.5m / West (Dock Lane East): 13.3m / East: varying, increasing as the building height increases
  • GFA: 44,119m2
  • Car parking spaces: 290 / Motorcycle spaces: 16
  • Bicycle spaces: Total 312 / resident bicycles overbonnet: 201 / resident bicycles communal: 85 / visitor bicycles: 26

While 1 Collins Wharf is now selling, the entire Collins Wharf development is expected to be completed within 10 years.

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.

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