The office tower is set to make a return to Melbourne’s CBD, with planning Minister Matthew Guy recently approving a 50 storey development at 272 Queen Street. Standing at 205.4m tall, the building if constructed would become the first office tower to reach a height above 200m since the building boom of the early 1990’s which produced multiple large-scale office developments such as the Melbourne Central tower and 120 Collins Street. Designed by Peddle Thorpe Architects for developer Dale Rose Pty Ltd, the newly approved $190 million dollar skyscraper would include 5 basement levels holding of 84 car park bays, motorcycle-bycicle areas, store rooms and services. DPCD planning notes indicate the tower would add 35,561sqm of new office space to Melbourne’s CBD, with typical floorplates of 832sqm. 20sqm of space is envisaged for every worker, therefore it's expected that 40 people per floor or 1778 people in total would work at 272 Queen St.
A double glazed curtain wall consisting of an extruded diagonal grid frame with random translucent triangular glazed panels will grace the north and west façades, with the remaining faces of the tower consisting of triangular patterned precast concrete panels which are designed to complement the north and west sides while allowing for future development either side. On the east façade, the precast panels will rise to a height of 120 metres – the height of an already approved building next door at 399 Little Lonsdale Street, before changing to the curtain wall façade seen on the north and west sides. The wind effect study image below includes 399 Little Lonsdale (also a Peddle Thorp design), as well as a block form for the adjoining 254-266 Queen St indicating another sizeable tower may be in the works for what is now the Bank of China Melbourne office.
There will be 3 plant levels within the structure, located on floors 11, 30 and 49, which have been recessed further than typical floors in order to break up the sheer vertical form of the tower and those plant levels will be clad in contrasting perforated metal facades to create transition areas within the building. One of the most interesting design elements associated with this development will be the incorporation of photovoltaic film which will be embedded into cantilevered bay elements along the north and west facades. Through this initiative, the building will draw upon the light it receives to generate an electric current which will then be fed back into the power grid of the building.
At street level dual entrances will be available off Queen Street and Little Lonsdale Street, with a new café to front Little Lonsdale in order to bring activity to the lesser used thoroughfare. While this development has been approved, it was not the first application that was submitted for the site; an earlier proposal submitted would have reached an even taller 220m. Key differences between the initial and approved plans include the height decrease to 205.4m, a decrease in the typical floor plate from 964sqm to 832sqm, increased setbacks from Queen Street, reduced setbacks to Little Lonsdale Street and an increase in podium height from five to ten levels. As yet there are no set plans for the tower to begin construction, it's likely that an anchor tenant will be required before Dale Rose Pty Ltd can approach financial institutions for construction funding.