Corner Queen and La Trobe Streets, Melbourne, 3000. 1997-2001 Katsalidis Architects (Nonda Katsalidis).
The Republic Tower is a very striking 35 storey brutalist styled skyscraper with the sculptural shape of an armour-clad samurai warrior.
Built from off-form concrete, stainless steel and glass, this building consists of mainly apartments and some retail space. Most of the units were originally sold off as enclosed functional shells to be fitted out as purchasers desired. The building also includes a gymnasium and an impressive 25 metre lap pool with equally impressive views east and west.
The five-storey podium is designed to fit within the streetscape. It includes two street level shops, a café facing La Trobe Street located under a large timber pergola and on Queen Street, rough-cut bluestone blocks lead to an entry into an underground restaurant. Another Katsalidis signature, a large curved billboard acting as an art space on the ground street corner, features a constantly changing display of public art, which is currently sponsored by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart.
I would consider The Republic Tower an underrated gem in Melbourne’s architectural landscape, Katsalidis at his best!