Now and then: Victoria Harbour during 2015 and 2005

The pace of construction activity continues to quicken at Victoria Harbour as Lend Lease cashes in on the seemingly endless demand for apartments. Their Docklands precinct currently sees seven residential towers at various stages of construction, a far cry from the solitary project on the radar during 2005.

Add a number of ongoing infrastructure and civic projects within the precinct and the level of development activity within the waterside hub is truly impressive.

Leader of the pack is the Bates Smart-designed Concavo residential tower which is rapidly approaching completion, while the dual towers of 888 Collins Street directly opposite Concavo are making swift progress. 888 Collins Street's western tower has topped out while the 40 level eastern tower has nudged past a third the way to its eventual height.

Most impressive is the progress of 839-889 Collins Street which has seen four Koichi Takada-designed towers advance to construction in seemingly no time. Replacing intended commercial buildings along Victoria Harbour's waterfront, promenade works and foundation piling have commenced which will ultimately see an additional 1070 apartments added over the four buildings.

There's no shortage of construction within Victoria Harbour

It's not all apartments at Victoria Harbour though with the Community Hub at The Dock set for completion later in the year. The hub will feature a new home for Docklands Yacht Club, the Victorian Dragon Boat Association and the Melbourne Outrigger Canoe club, plus a family services centre encompassing consulting, playground and communal facilities.

The Community Hub joins Library at the Dock which opened during 2014; both projects represent a shift toward providing community-based facilities within Victoria Harbour. In addition, demolition works continue further west along North Wharf Road in preparation for future development stages, effectively stretching construction along a roughly 500 metre front within Victoria Harbour.

Perhaps most interesting is the regeneration of Merchant Street. Near completed aspects of the project seek to add greater variety to the streetscape, with an eye toward creating a finer grain pedestrian experience and enticing workers to stay within the area post work hours.

Whether this is a natural progression of Victoria Harbour or an admission that the original builds were lacking where it matters - street level activation and design quality - is another topic altogether. Upon first viewing below the near complete corner of Bourke and Merchant is somewhat bland relative to the render which depicts a greater level of intricacy over the newly projected podium.

Community Hub, promenade works and Merchant Street. Render courtesy Lend Lease

​So what was the state of Victoria Harbour during 2005? Only John Wardle's impressive Dock 5 residential tower was on the menu, creeping skyward over the course of the year. It's purple facade and overhung metal crown complimented the 148 apartments within the project, giving the precinct a focal point upon its completion.

Dock 5 followed on from both the Ericsson and NAB low-rise commercial buildings representing the initial projects within the expansive Victoria Harbour precinct. Providing exceptional spaces internally, the buildings arguably offered little by way of design nous externally; a failing that could be applied to many builds within Victoria Harbour over the years to come, namely Myer Docklands, Montage, Mosaic and Forte.

Dock 5 on the rise over the course of 2005

If nothing else the seven to one ratio of apartment projects under construction over the decade-long gap serves to exemplify the rate at which apartment living has rocketed throughout Melbourne, particularly since 2000. Looking forward to 2025 and Victoria Harbour will most likely be complete as further projects creep westward toward the Bolte Bridge.

What the fully completed precinct will look like at that point is anyone's guess at this stage.


Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.