This largely came about of a request from forum regular John Proctor, who suggested a study of:
…the block bordered by Little La Trobe, La Trobe, Swanston, Elizabeth, do a comparison of the approved towers and what the 24:1 plot ratio would allow.
That block has 5/6 approved towers including Aurora - [it] would be quite interesting to see that sort of comparison.
I have increased the study area slightly to extend a block further to A’Beckett Street, to allow for the inclusion of 398 Elizabeth Street (Empire) and A’Beckett Tower. This is illustrated in the diagram below. Melbourne Central has been included as a point of reference and for scale.
The diagram highlights that the Elenberg Fraser designed A’Beckett Tower is currently the tallest on the two blocks, weighing in at 103 metres. The tower is built out to three boundaries with a minor setback from A’Beckett Street on a 900sqm site.
Now let’s take a look at the same study area with all approved towers highlighted.
This diagram illustrates a substantial change in scale and density for the block with six additional towers over 100 metres in height, the tallest of which supersedes Melbourne Central’s 211 metres:
What would those same two blocks look like if we applied the setback and height controls of amendment C262 and the floor area ratio (FAR) of 24:1?
It is worth noting this is a very high level study that does not delve into apartment layouts etc or architectural form and articulation, these are merely building envelopes to provide an idea of what the implications of amendment C262 are. The modelling was done on the basis that all the sites had 40 metre high podiums with any tower element(s) set back from the podiums.
The transparent pink building envelopes indicate it might be possible to accommodate a tower above the podium as far as FAR is concerned: five metre setbacks have been applied with overall heights (podium and tower) capped at 100 metres. The proportions of the floorplate make it difficult but with some innovative design (refer to Phoenix and Collins House) it would be possible to develop or in the case of the Scape dual site, a tower bridging across both sites.
Site consolidation might be necessary to achieve setbacks plus FAR requirements, in addition to producing a feasible scheme. As such, a site like 224 LaTrobe Street which covers 3,200sqm could still accommodate a 81-storey tower but with a typical tower floor plate of 500sqm; significantly less than that of Aurora.
To finish off is a comparative study of approvals overlaid with the amendment C262 masses.
I will leave it to you to decide which is the better outcome for Melbourne.