West Melbourne's latest tower on show

Mark BaljakFebruary 18, 20180 min read

Not a week after Urban.com.au noted the submission of a tower for a vacant corner West Melbourne block, plans for the project have been revealed.

What is shown is practice ClarkeHopkinsClarke's definitive foray into high-rise apartment design. Proponent City Gate Pty Ltd is backing plans for a 20-storey development for 404-418 Spencer Street, a site immediately south of the recently finished Spencer Melbourne which is double the height of the prospective tower.

Landing with City of Melbourne during January, 404-418 Spencer Street potentially sees the end of the corner block's underuse; the 1,070 square metre plot has been vacant for some years.

404-418 Spencer Street application summary

West Melbourne's latest tower on show
Active street level interface. Image: Orbit Visualization
  • Application lodged 16/01/2018
  • Proposed 20 level tower at 66.3 metres
  • 177 apartments of consisting of 92 x 1 bedrooms and 85 x 2 bedrooms
  • Communal area of 690 square metres
  • 287 square metres of retail over 3 spaces
  • 48 car parking spaces within 2 basement levels plus 94 bicycle bays
  • 16,779 square metre GFA at a FAR of 13.7:1
  • Anticipated development cost of $55.1 million

Design statement

Key design factors and assertions regarding the tower's design have been outlined by Urbis within the planning documents:

At ground level, glazing has been maximised to the retail spaces and the apartment lobby, providing views from the public realm into the development and enhancing pedestrian amenity. Above, darker metal cladding has been used to provide solidity to the podium and the appearance of a stronger street wall. 

Strong white vertical and horizontal banding provides visual interest to the façade, which, when coupled with glazing in varying grey tones, provides visual depth and verticality.

The proposal will not result in unacceptable visual bulk, with the facades highly articulated. As such, the proposal accords with the design objectives of Clause 22.17.

To the north, the proposed 2 metre setback will provide a minimum separation of 8.8 metres, increasing to 12.4 metres to the west. Although the neighbouring development provides greater tower setbacks, the building is 11 storeys higher than the proposed and sits atop a heritage building. Thus, increased setbacks assist to minimise visual impacts of the tower and reduce dominance of the higher built form. 

Going green up top

ClarkeHopkinsClarke have included typical amenities atop the podium by way of a gym and outdoor pool.

It is the roof level though where 404-418 Spencer Street is looking to distinguish itself. Near on 600 square metres is set aside as a heavily greened rooftop terrace which is set to include a substantial area dedicated toward productive gardens, a dining area and breakout spaces.

In and among the heavy planting schedule, four distinct zones are envisaged based upon their respective solar access. These zones will cater for smaller root vegetables and above ground plantings through to potential citrus and walnut groves.

In its submitted form 404-418 Spencer Street would be one of a few contemporary designs and/or developments that fully embraces city of Melbourne's Rooftop Project initiative.

West Melbourne's latest tower on show
Hero perspective. Image: Orbit Visualization

404-418 Spencer Street development team

  • Developer: City Gate Pty Ltd
  • Architectural Plans and Urban Design Report: Clarke Hopkins Clarke
  • Planning and Landscape Design Report: Urbis
  •  Visuals: Orbit Visualization
  • Acoustic Assessment: SLR
  • Arborist Report: Tree Map Arboriculture
  • Pedestrian Wind Environment Statement: Windtech Consultants
  • Traffic and Transport Assessment: Cardno
  • Waste Management Plan: Irwin Consult
  • Sustainable and Stormwater Management Plan: Wood & Grieve Engineers

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of Urban.com.au. 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.
West Melbourne
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