A planning application of some difference finds itself in focus, as the typical glass and/or horizontal bands of many of the city's current crop of residential towers makes way for a design with unique external properties. Lodged mid-year and having been given brief credence in the mainstream media, Hayball's design for 334-344 City Road is distinguished by its teardrop form and angular, modular facade.
334 City Road may also act as a nexus between the established Southbank and the Montague Precinct within the forthcoming Fishermans Bend urban renewal; at 270 metres it sits on the border of the two slated high density zones.
Interestingly enough the tower has been submitted with two separate residential layouts. The intended yield sees a total of 578 apartments and 198 hotel suites whilst the alternative layout provides for 482 apartments with the identical number of hotel suites. This discrepancy is explained by the difference in apartment types where the baseline layout carries 156 single and 15 three bedroom apartments whilst the alternative sees only 12 single bedroom dwellings countered by a whopping 159 three bedroom dwellings.
Hotel accommodation size varies between 27sqm and 50sqm over the allocated 11 floors. This is further broken down into 132 hotel rooms and 66 hotel suites which as seen below are more generous in size.
The elliptical tower form has been developed through detailed analysis of the subject site’s urban morphology, and an intelligent response to the building setback objectives of the Planning Scheme. The orientation of the tower and its aerofoil profile delivers oblique views to and from surrounding developments that are predominately rectilinear and orientated to property boundaries.
The Environmental Wind Assessment prepared by Mel Consultants in conjunction with the proposal, also demonstrates that the building form is very effective in mitigating effects of the strong winds from the southwest impacting on the exposed site, and delivering a comfortable environment for pedestrians at ground level.
The façade comprises a system of highly repetitive L-shaped precast concrete panels which interact with metal clad infill panels, and expand and contract to express different building functions. The lapped panel set-out addresses the elliptical tower form and provides further depth and interest.
A spiral motif is overlaid providing a formal mechanism to transition between façade elements associated with different programmes:
Hayball - 334 City Road planning application
- Podium green wall to apartment balconies;
- Hotel windows to apartment balconies; and
- Apartment balconies to winter garden windows
334 City Road's facade is similar to Hayball's awarded Canada Hotel development in Carlton where a series of facade panels essentially interlock to create a repetitive pattern. Add the subtle use of coloured metal spandrel panels and a diagonal visual rhythm becomes evident over the proposed tower.
The planning application addresses what is a problem the length of City Road: active street level frontages or lack thereof. Hayball and Tract Consultants have jointly provided for a softening of the existing harsh street level environment by way of an indented ground level with an overhung podium.
In this way increased area is given to the public realm at ground level with bluestone paving to all frontages, public bench seats, a green feature wall, planters and scope for public sculpture artwork all envisaged. In addition the adjoining dead space under the neighbouring West Gate Freeway is also earmarked for urban revitalisation. Seen below are precedents which could be applied to the undercroft, delivering some much needed useable public space to City Road in the process.
It is worth noting that 334 City Road's urban context report does state that developer EAG Pty Ltd has had a presence on City Road for some years and has committed to delivering the project. According to a Fairfax Media report site owner EAG Pty Ltd is tied to BRW rich lister Giuseppe “Joe” Catalfamo who owns the current Urban Central accommodation onsite.
Prolific builder LU Simon is also listed as a project partner within the submitted documents, suggesting that should it gain approval 334 City Road looks to have both the financial basis and building expertise in place turn the paper project into reality.