Following a recent article highlighting the proposed tower at 256-260 City Road, these two images have recently appeared on Carabott Holt Turnicov's website simply labelled 'City Road'. Although not willing to say much to Urban Melbourne, a picture as they say, is worth a thousand words.
Taking into account the surrounding block form and lowrise buildings, CHT's concept is located at 268-270 City Rd, or abutting the aforementioned 256-260 City Rd. With nine glazed lower levels maintaining a higher floor to floor span than the levels above, I'll make the assumption that they consist of office space. Above these sit 40 levels of apartments with both the southern and northern facades sporting an interesting, engaging tetris-like pattern achieved by the use of irregular protruding floorplates. Add two plant levels and this tower sits at roughly 160-170 metres above City Rd.
Irrespective of height, street level activation fronting City Rd seems minimal based upon the image below - individuals interact with built form most commonly at street level and the inactive street frontage suggests a poor urban outcome.
Pretty patterns aside, the render below shows recessed balconies and light windows running the height of the western flank. The initial thought that came to mind was a potential stoush that would eventuate if the adjoining site to the west were to be developed to the boundary, much like that which has plagued the proposed 17-23 Wills St in Melbourne's CBD. Windows and balconies along shared property boundaries can be dicey prospect.
This would be an issue for planning, but ultimately the above is merely speculation until an official planning application is lodged. Nonetheless this scheme has some unique, redeeming features should it ever come to fruition.
Even if this is nothing more than a concept design, we've asked our in-house graphic guru Laurence Dragomir to render both buildings together for the sole purpose of illustrating the potential for a poor outcome - the copyright to the design of both 256-260 and 268-270 City Road remains with the respective architects. Two development sites with a common property boundary are generally expected to design precast concrete walls abutting one another, negating a number of planning concerns. In its current form before planning authorities, the centre tower below at 256-260 City Rd has a setback of 5 metres from its western boundary which faces 268-270 City Rd.
Furthermore the western flank is completely glazed meaning notionally floor to ceiling windows would face a blank concrete wall no more than 5 metres away for the entire height of the building, clearly an unacceptible outcome. The logical outcome would see planning authorities ask that 256-260 City Rd architects Hayball go back to the drawing board to avoid such an outcome by bringing the tower out to the western site boundary and implementing a precast wall.