When a box simply won't do: dual eye-popping South Melbourne designs emerge

At a time when the majority of Melbourne's commercial buildings in development are best describes as 'boxy', South Melbourne may well be in for two intriguing commercial buildings, should the respective planning applications receive the green light.

On the corner of Moray and York Streets,134 Moray Street is an angular, almost aggressive gesture to its otherwise mundane surrounds.

Hayball are the design force behind the commercial project, acting on behalf of 134 Moray Street Unit Trust, the prospective developer. 

As envisaged from the corner of Moray and York Streets. Planning image: Hayball
  • Proposed 10 storey commercial building at 34.1m in height
  • 6,221sqm of leasable office space
  • 82 car parking spaces, 90 bicycle spaces & 6 visitor bicycle spaces
  • Ground floor commercial display area of 429sqm
  • One café of at 38sqm
  • Communal terraces across each level

The lower tier of the development forms a street wall to Moray street and responds to the surrounding conditions of the site by taking the notion of a ‘Jewel’, intent on providing urban interest in an otherwise understated part of South Melbourne. The ‘Jewel’ concept has been applied to the façade design through a highly faceted yet restrained language and unifies the building setbacks into a cohesive whole.

The primary material pallet of glass, and metal, takes priority and forms the facets of the ‘Jewel’. The folded nature of the metal and glass facets allow for a playful shift of light and shade throughout the day, creating a dynamic yet restrained architectural language. The façade is further accented with variants in metal and glass tint and the subtle reading of the façade framing.

Through articulation of surface, material, light, and depth, the composition of the building provides a unified and robust architectural statement.

Design statement, SJB Planning

In addition to a light well which is would allow natural light penetration to internal spaces,134 Moray Street also carries a raft of ESD features. Likely to appear within the project is a rainwater harvesting system for toilet flushing and irrigation, re-used timber in building and construction works, a 25kWp solar photovoltaic array on pitched terrace roofs, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and shared electric bikes for staff.

While 134 Moray Street is a refreshing departure from the typical commercial form, it may not be the only one destined for South Melbourne. During March plans were lodged with City of Port Phillip regarding an application for a fourteen storey office building at 11-29 Eastern Road. The island site sits just off Kings Way and currently features a low-rise commercial building and at-grade car parking.

If images published on architect Rothelowman's website are indicative of the current planning application, South Melbourne may well be in for two stunningly designed commercial buildings.

Eastern Road’s form flares to embrace natural light, create engaging spaces and direct views towards key Melbourne landmarks. With diverse urban design, shared amenity, cafes and public art, this office building will serve as a significant leap forward in the evolution of the modern, collaborative and sustainable workplace.

Eastern Road. Image: Rothelowman

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