A chance to let the mind wander today via the workings of masterful ecoarchitect Ken Yeang. Renowned for blending greenery, ecological principles and extraordinary design to create memorable buildings, Ken Yeang is a champion of sustainable design with high aesthetics to match. A recent interview with Ken Yeang via The Architects Newspaper can be found here.
Melbourne for the most is slowly progressing in terms of green architecture, with the majority of new towers (particularly commercial developments) still rather boxy and light on visible greenery and innovation. Two notable exceptions are Melbourne City Council's domicile aka Council House 2 (below left) and 720 Bourke Street. Currently under construction and the future home of Medibank Private, 720 Bourke Street is the only Docklands tower that actively incorporates greenery into its facade - this sole example is somewhat disappointing given Docklands should be Melbourne's showcase for contemporary design.
Click each image for a larger perspective.
Baring that in mind, here are UrbanMelbourne.info's top 5 Ken Yeang designs we'd love to see in Melbourne, specifically on sites throughout Melbourne which are prime for redevelopment.
5 - Compilation of Ken Yeang Skyscrapers @ 689 Collins Street
Allow me to indulge and bend the rules first-up. Last week it was announced Lend Lease had secured development rights to the last prime piece of Docklands real estate, which also fronts Collins Street. Given the scale of the site, aspects of three different Ken Yeang designs could be accommodated. See a concept design for Lend Lease's scheme below; good it may be but with a slightly more considered green approach, the result could be far more spectacular and sustainable.
4 - EDITT Tower @ Flinders Street Station
Most readers would have viewed the submissions for the Flinders Street Station design competition by now. It's generally expected the western end of Flinders Street Station will host some form of commercial space, yet a number of designs have seemingly added this as an afterthought. I say make a statement with the commercial component, a tower that residents and visitors alike would acknowledge as progressive, sustainable and environmentally responsible - enter EDITT Tower. At 20-25 levels it's an appropriately sized tower which could have visual oomph over the Yarra.
3 - Spire Edge @ 695 La Trobe Street
695 La Trobe Street is currently a vacant block that has been subject to a number of proposals over the last decade, the most recent of which was a Fender Katsalidis-designed 36 level mixed-use tower seen inserted below. Holding a prime, open corner position with expansive city and waterfront views over Victoria Harbour, the site lends itself to a quality building with impressive green facades over all sides. Enter Ken Yeang's Spire Tower with its impressive green facade it makes the perfect ESD-credentialed statement for this particular site.
2 - Solaris @ Southern Cross Station (664 Collins)
The deck abutting Southern Cross station has sat dormant for a number of years, ready to accommodate a medium sized commercial building. Travelling along Collins Street west-bound it acts as a gateway site for Docklands. Opposite 689 Collins Street, the site screams for an innovative statement. A design of Solaris' quality would be fitting for 664 Collins Street and is in stark contrast to a number of commercial proposals put forward for the site to date (below left).
1 - Jianshe HQ Tower @ Fed Square East
Fed Square East demands a lot of factors be considered in its impending design. Public space, existing building sight lines, greenery & ESD, arts and exhibition spaces, retail offerings, ease of access to Birrarung Marr, commercial space to offset construction costs etc. leads to an altogether complex yet exciting future project for Melbourne. Ken Yeang has seemingly solved the majority of listed issues with his masterful design for Jianshe HQ Tower as part of architecture firm TR Hamzah & Yeang. Imagine a design of Jianshe's ilk taking its place aside Fed Sqaure - a magnificent sight I'd suggest.
As for Ken Yeang actually designing a project in Melbourne? Melbourne should be so lucky!