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Yarra One finally strikes a blow for Forrest Hill's urban realm

South Yarra’s latest development is about to strike a blow for excellent and inclusive urban realm design...and not before time.

As far back as 2014 and 2015, Urban Melbourne has highlighted the runaway success of South Yarra's Forrest Hill urban renewal precinct. Unfortunately though as skyscrapers sprouted throughout the precinct, the ground plane and its importance to the success of the overall development was in essence lost.

Scant few recent apartment projects have provided a meaningful expression at street level, and the precinct is the poorer for it.

South Yarra's latest apartment release, Yarra One, will well and truly buck the trend though by way of a new open-air atrium fronting Claremont Street. Apartments will be set above the grand atrium within the Fender Katsalidis Architects-designed project, which is on behalf of developer Eco World-Salcon Y1 Pty Ltd.

An extension of the narrow and poorly lit Yarra Lane directly opposite, Yarra One's atrium will continue the mid-block pedestrian thoroughfare to Daly Street. Long term it is possible then a new entrance to South Yarra Station would see pedestrians disembarking and transiting Yarra One's atrium through to Chapel Street and by default Forrest Hill.

Interior atrium perspective. Image: Salcon

What they say

There has been a true commitment to making a positive contribution to South Yarra’s growing community with the creation of this atrium.

The atrium is an example of placemaking at its best and will transform the Forrest Hill precinct with its diverse range of amenity for both residents and the wider community.

Andrew Leoncelli, managing director for residential projects at CBRE

Positioned in the centre of the area’s pedestrian traffic between the train station and Chapel Street, the atrium has been designed to be used and embraced by the community.

Karl Fender, founding director of Fender Katsalidis Architects

Cafés, restaurants, and retail spaces are set to act as the atrium's drawcards, with the expectation that Yarra One will become a meeting place. The structure itself also continues Fender Katsalidis Architects' penchant for incorporating trellis-like structures into their high-rise designs; other notable examples include Republic Tower and Australia 108.

The timber trellis structure includes draped greenery whilst also allowing ample natural light penetration. Tiered seating is also incorporated as is a stage, allowing for small performances.

The pending excellence of Yarra One's public atrium brings into focus the shortcomings of many surrounding developments in creating a pleasant, interactive and genuinely usable street level interface. It can be argued that planning provisions should have been implemented across the Forrest Hill prior to the precinct's renewal in order to facilitate similarly impressive urban realm outcomes.

Although no one is ever wrong in hindsight, it is nonetheless highly encouraging to see both architect and developer deliver a project that includes much foresight.

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