Five UNStudio designs worthy of a Melbourne address

News has filtered through that UNStudio have replaced Bjarke Ingles Group in partnering with Hassell to deliver a competitive scheme for the new 447 Collins Street, previously outlined in Laurence's article.

So accomplished are UNStudio that we thought it appropriate to highlight five of their designs that would fit into a given Melbourne streetscape seamlessly - or at least we wish they would.

695 Collins Street

My favoured punching bag this week, Lend Lease have chosen a 'minimalistic look' for their dual commercial buildings that will plug the last remaining gap on Collins Street. If nothing else the above designs in New York and Cheonan, Korea demonstrate that a delicate facade can do wonders, even on a simple rectangular floorplate.

101 Waterfront Way

Roll Melbourne Star into the Bay? The maligned development even though rebuilt still screams of simple 'Meccano' design - not much more than an enlarged Ferris wheel. There are some incredibly well designed observations wheels out there, perhaps no better than UNStudio's Japanese example, Gow Nippon Moon.

Hybrid tension design and incredible looks; Melbourne Star pales in comparison.

Fed Square East

A slice of Guangzhou in Melbourne? The Three Museums One Square competition entry could be adapted for Fed Square East easily enough.

An open deck adorned with cocoon-like structures would contrast markedly with the bustling, varied designs of Melbourne's CBD and Federation Square itself. Heading toward the Yarra the design transitions into a latticework of greenery and bridges, melding seamlessly into Birrarung Marr.

Camberwell Station

An oldie but a goodie. Designed during 2007 as a competition entrant for Bologna's Central Station expansion, a scaled down version would generally comply with the the Camberwell Station development envelope. Originally destined to become Place by the Arno Group, the failed development still leaves a gaping hole in Burke Road's streetscape.

Could the likes of Geoffrey Rush and Barry Humpries be placated by a magnificent new Camberwell Station, offset by commercial or residential development above? Unfortunately, most likely not.

Anywhere you please

Whilst the CBD talls garner most attention, equally as important are Melbourne's suburban 5-8 level apartment blocks.

UNStudio have produced a concept of a redesigned existing Frankfurt multi-level car park into a "series of modular plug in living units." Adaptive re-use or new build, the design is intriguing, green, efficient, stylish, viable and any other descriptive word you care to think of. If designs such as the above became the norm around Melbourne, surely they would go some way to breaking down the 'NIMBY' negative connotations toward medium density suburban living.

The purpose of such an article

Multi-pronged of course! In highlighting some impressive UNStudio designs we also highlight some of Melbourne's shortcomings both in development (lack of in some cases) and design.

It is refreshing to see an international design competition held for one of Melbourne's premier development sites: 447 Colllins Street. They don't occur all that often for commercial developments, yet the calibre of UNStudio's architecture outlined above, coupled with the fellow local/international design competitors should ensure a landmark development for 447 Collins Street.

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