RMIT's play for a new A'Beckett Street footprint

RMIT University is hoping to continue its substantial building program with a sizeable mixed-use tower set for a long held A'Beckett Street address.

Entering planning during late 2015, the new proposal designed by Denton Corker Marshall would provide additional educational space and 11 levels of office space, most likely for ancillary university use. Located at 24-46 A’Beckett Street the project also represents Denton Corker Marshall's third tower in the RMIT precinct, joining two active large-scale student housing towers in development.

Although the proposal will result in the loss of an urban park, the site was always expected to be developed by RMIT and has been subject to a proposal as far back as a decade ago.

24-46 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne application summary

RMIT's latest precinct addition. Planning image: DCM
  • Current 2,806 square metre site use: temporary urban park
  • Proposed 24 level mixed-use tower at 115.2 metres
  • Levels 1-13 subject to educational uses over 16,708 square metres
  • Levels 13-23 dedicated to 13,954 square metres of office space
  • Two ground floor retail tenancies over 472 square metres
  • 206 bicycle parking spaces, gym, 15 showers and 120 lockers included
  • Gross floor area: 46,813 square metres
  • Project value: $137.4 million

City of Melbourne generally supportive

24-46 A’Beckett Street's podium will consist of a lower section of metal cladding with a lighter element above containing voids throughout which act as break out areas and terraces. The tower section gently tapers in and will be finished with a metal clad and glazing similar to the lower aspect of the podium.

City of Melbourne is broadly supportive of the proposal with the terraces recessed into the podium noted as being a strong design initiative. Colonnades have been included along each street front providing contrast to more recent builds in the vicinity.

Post assessment from City of Melbourne planning staff, it has been resolved that the Future Melbourne Committee will support the application, with the final decision on the project to be made by the Minister for Planning.

RMIT continues to invest in facilities

The assessment of 24-46 A’Beckett Street comes as construction progresses on RMIT's latest city campus project, New Academic Street. Under the guidance of Lend Lease, New Academic Street will see an upgrade to the lower levels of existing Buildings 8, 10, 12 and 14, opening these buildings up to the surrounding city.

At a cost of approximately $220 million, New Academic Street is set to be delivered incrementally with a target completion date of July 2017.

New Academic Street is a follow-up project to RMIT's Swanston Academic Building and Design Hub on the corner of Victoria and Swanston Streets. Combined these projects and 24-46 A’Beckett Street would push RMIT's investment in educational facilities to well beyond $1 billion.

Lend Lease is progressing with RMIT's NAS.

RMIT and VU on the same wavelength

RMIT's A'Beckett Street proposal draws parallels with another nearby university-driven mixed-use development.

Victoria University holds approval for a similar sized tower of approximately 43,300 square metres at 364 Little Lonsdale Street. Both developments seek to greatly expand the educational capabilities of either institution in a high density format, while also adding a sizeable amount of office space.

Both projects see direct educational facilities over lower levels, with upper levels dedicated to support offices and academic staff work spaces.

Victoria University's project has not advanced to construction as yet, raising the prospect that both towers may potentially rise simultaneously in the years to come.

VU Tower's intended city campus. Image: Jackson Architecture

2 comments

3000's picture

Colour palette and deign seems a little tame given the building next door (which is amazing inside btw, good example of vertical space for learning)

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David Glanz's picture

STATEMENT FROM RMIT

RMIT has lodged a planning permit application for the development of a building on its City campus, to provide learning and teaching facilities and office space for academic and professional staff.

The 24-storey building is planned for A’Beckett Square, adjacent to RMIT’s Swanston Academic Building.

The development is in preliminary stages of planning and no construction start date has been set.

The temporary urban pop-up recreational park will continue to occupy the site and will remain open to students, staff and the public, while plans for the building project are further developed.

RMIT will consult closely with students and staff in plans for the relocation of the existing recreational space, once a timeline for the building development is established.

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