High up on the Hill

Ascent it may be called, but the intended development below further increases the number of highrise residential buildings descending upon St Kilda Junction. Devised By Bruce Henderson Architects, the proposal nominally located at 42 Barkly Street St Kilda yet with St Kilda Road frontage, is currently seeking planning approval after what has been drawn-out process beginning mid 2012. If approved, the tower will share a common address with the 1874-built Stanthorpe estate on St Kilda Hill and hold 80 plus apartments.

Recently appearing on the Bruce Henderson Architects website, Ascent's associated description reads as follows:

"This proposed development is located to the rear of the existing ‘Manse’ mansion on Barkly Street and fronts St Kilda Road to the east. The project seeks to integrate the mansion with the proposed apartment tower. The proposal’s active frontage, comprising a retail tenancy to St Kilda Road, wraps around and directs pedestrians along the north to the large glazed lobby frontage of the residential tower.

A highly recessed resident terrace and lounge to the north-west continue the ground floor activation, opening up views to the proposed new rear glazed entrance of the mansion as well as Barkly Street beyond. The strong vertical form of the proposed tower design is informed by the tripartite arrangement of the mansion when seen from Barkly Street. This tripartite arrangement is also present in the tower plan and façade design and is further accentuated by the sculptural layer and balcony treatment which begins at the base of the building and carries through the feature art."

While Ascent's fate has yet to be determined, two other developments at the Junction are close to gaining resolution. Both awaiting a determination by VCAT, 30 Punt Road Windsor and 35 Wellington Street St Kilda (below right) are due for final decisions. Of particular interest is 35 Wellington Street. Initially conceived as an eight level apartment complex (below left) with five levels fronting Wellington Street, Bruce Henderson have produced a new five level complex with two levels of commercial space and 14 apartments above. Basement carparking and retail space would also be included.

I say interesting as given the initial eight level proposal above was only doors away from the near complete Allure Apartments (below) at 11-15 Wellington Street, one would find it a reasonable assumption that a height precedent would have been set. Assumptions aside, Allure is nearing practical completion and sold out, an indicator as to how popular apartment living around the Junction? We'll find out soon enough as a number of projects approach public sales release.

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