Taper and twist: an opportunity missed

Hassell Studio have published images of their unsuccessful yet amazing bid to snare the prime 447 Collins Street development site, known as Market Quarter, which references Melbourne's first market. Along with partner design firm UNStudio, dual designs were conceived to fulfill separate briefs; a structure similar in height to the under demolition tower currently onsite and a much taller tower with landmark qualities.

According to Hassell, key to Cbus Property's design brief was to create "A striking, new visual landmark and a vibrant, new public realm for the Melbourne community."

Hassell Studio dubbed the shorter design 'Taper', which at 151 metres would still have been a considerable development. A highly distinctive design, Taper would have appeared unlike any other building on Melbourne's skyline with its bowed form and sleek lines, which at a lesser height would have seen it free from any Southbank overshadowing concerns.

Collins Street perspective of Taper. Image courtesy Hassell Studio

By uniting an elegantly formed medium-rise tower with a series of welcoming public spaces, our design delivers a development that creates opportunities for commercial growth while also enabling increased cultural and recreational offerings.

Mark Loughnan, HASSELL Principal and project design leader

Incorporating 156.000sqm of GFA, the design would have also made Taper one of Melbourne's largest buildings, particularly in girth. Consisting of commercial, residential and retail/communal use at ground level, Taper would have been a sight to behold from any angle.

Aerial perspective of Twist. Image courtesy Hassell Studio

Perhaps not as stunning was the taller design, referred to as 'Twist' would have reached 286 metres in height. With 179,000sqm of GFA, Twist would have presented as a fairly simple form from Southbank, although the rear of the tower would have included a higher level of articulation as seen above.

Also maintaining a predominantly residential and commercial use, Twist's lower levels would have spanned the width of the sizeable development site, producing floorplates in excess of 2000sqm.

We imagined the development as a major focal point for commercial activity and as a symbol of Melbourne’s status as a leading, innovative city. But we also saw it as a place where people would come to experience Melbourne’s cultural life.

Mark Loughnan, HASSELL Principal and project design leader
Artist's impression of Taper from Southbank. Image courtesy Hassell Studio

Although the chosen Woods Bagot/SHoP Architecture design for 447 Collins Street was rejected by then Minister for Planning Matthew Guy during late 2014, it received unanimous support from Melbourne City Council as it included a new CBD park at its base. Cbus Property have yet to show their hand as to what design will be fut forward for approval.

As seen below Probuild and Delta Group are methodically demolishing the existing onsite structure, with total deletion of AXA's former headquarters slated for the latter part of 2015. What replaces it remains the question.

Current status of 447 Collins Street. Image courtesy Ryan Seychell


3000's picture

Am I the only one that thinks that this land would be perfect for some open space? Maybe something for the public or at the least keep the development here limited to something moderate.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

Taper would have been iconic!

Definitely a missed opportunity.sad

3000, do we really need some more open space so close to Enterprize Park and Batman Park?

I don't think so.

I collect, therefore I am.

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Andrew's picture

Build 'em down in Docklands, got room for them there and they'd be much better looking than some of the things going up.

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Riccardo's picture

I don't know why designs like taper aren't more common. Often the constraints are on street level not airspace and you can widen floorplates as you go up, subject to shadows etc. you could keep your street frontage, public squares etc while improving your economics

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Riccardo's picture

Andrew why should 447 not have a large building on it, given it already has one?

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