Market Square is the first in a series of articles I will be writing for Urban Melbourne that will be looking at the adaptation, regeneration and development of buildings, structures and sites through conceptual interventions in the form of pretty pictures.
The concept for Market Square, located at 447 Collins Street investigates the possibility of redeveloping the former National Mutual Plaza into a bustling urban oasis in the middle of the Melbourne CBD, that in part pays homage to the site's previous life as the Western Market.
The idea came about after a panel on the Godfrey and Spowers designed building came crashing down in January 2012. Following which, owner's ISPT engaged consultants Aurecon to complete an assessment of the structural integrity of the tower and its facade.
Before I go any further, here is a brief rundown of the site:
While ISPT consider the current building's future following the exit of the final tenants mid-year (there has been talk of retaining it and carrying out remedial works to the facade) I have decided in this instance to knock it down and go tabula rasa on its derriere.
You're probably asking "but why Laurence? what's wrong with the current building?" "have you no architectural conscience?" "Tabula, Rasa? Derriere? Good god man what are you on about?"
All very good questions. Here I see an opportunity to inject some much needed sheltered, green space into the heart of the CBD.
The key elements of the scheme are as follows:
I tried to be strategic in orienting the tower to run north-south versus the current building which is sited to run east-west. This was done as a means of reducing the visual bulk from the river and the amount of overshadowing for a tower of its height even is it's not ideal from an ESD point of view.
I have attempted to control the amount solar gain through the faceted triple skinned glazed facade which is also intended to act as a wind mitigator, by reducing the amount of 'flat' surface area.
The provision of an urban park was partly done to offset any loss of amenity to the Northbank as a result of the tower's height, which is taller than the current building due to the amount of site area given over to public programme.
I also liked the idea of inserting a park into Melbourne's main street amongst the corporate towers.
I think I've rambled on enough for now, so until next time when I will be tackling Station Pier in Port Melbourne. Please enjoy the site chronology and images below - let me know what you think. Peace out.