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CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

Ryan Seychell's picture
#1

Site was purchased last year with an approved permit:

Probably undergoing an amendment at the moment, approved design was 35 levels, new design: 

 

 

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Bilby's picture

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3000's picture

I don't see why what's there has to go as well. Could be worked into something nice

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Bilby's picture

This building has dual street frontages and twin facades - so effectively the facade pictured exists both on Little Lon. and on the rear lane way. We get one new building and lose two facades on two separate historic streetscapes.

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Melbourne_Fragments's picture

more of the Guildford lane precincts character ripped away for an extraordinarily generic design, no doubt just prefab concrete at the back

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3000's picture

I agree. Waste of a good building. Is there an actual reason why we don't get anything actually good within these laneway precincts?

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Riddlz's picture

Called Union Tower

Rothe Lowman designed this one & already at Sales.

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Adrian's picture

So sad - 100% agree about the loss of street level fabric with another cheap Asian Investor pre-cast house of cards ..

CoM & Planning Ministers have so much to answer for f***ing hypocrites.

If there actually was retail at the back open to the laneway to extend the life and activity that Brady created out of those empty carparks next door it would be justifiable - but as mentioned by others presumably it's just going to be blank concrete wall with service/plant equipment.

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Mark Baljak's picture

Another precast house of cards, hardly. It's a world away from Elm next door

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Bilby's picture

It's quite pointless to have lost such a great character filled building here - the developer could have just gone taller and narrower, kept the heritage facades with a small setback and still not overshadowed Guildford Lane.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

It is actually to the south of Guildford Lane, but this precinct has still been mismanaged by the COM and state Government. We have plot ratios and setbacks but still no heritage overlay for the Guilford Lane precinct.

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Bilby's picture

That was what I referring to - no issues with overshadowing the lane way precinct at all. But yes, we need that HO for the Guildford Lane precinct fast! Not to mention the Minister signing off on the City North Amendment while he's at it.

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Adrian's picture

Another precast house of cards, hardly. It's a world away from Elm next door

Are you taking the piss ?

Elm Tower is no house of cards it was mafia built to certain level of quality. 14 years after it was built not a single fixture has broken and I can crank up my stereo to any volume without the neighbours complaining the walls are that solid.

I'm not proud of the concrete wall at the back either but at least the building frontage curves away respectfully from Lt Lonsdale St unlike Melb Star/Sky and this new one.

All I see in this development is another Carlson - paper thin precast walls, cheap finishing and no architectural design merit whatsoever ..

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Bilby's picture

Meanwhile ... in one of the most densely populated cities in Europe:

http://www.dezeen.com/2015/09/14/gearwheel-factory-ronald-janssen-amster...

"Although they were tasked with turning the building into functional homes, both Janssen and Osborne were keen to preserve as much of the factory's original features as possible.

'Despite the fact that the factory is not of any particular architectural or historical significance, I think we have to embrace these old buildings,' said Janssen."

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Mark Baljak's picture

My point was/is RL are not in the business of designing crap.

This building looks quite good. Precast house of cards is best applied to certain other architects I would have thought.

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Bilby's picture

Perhaps "cookie cutter" rather than precast is the problem here. This could have been a special part of town with its historic buildings intact. Not now. Who cares if the resulting building is "...quite good". The historic warehouse on the site currently is very special indeed, compared with the street level frontage proposed. I fail to see how this is a productive outcome in the bigger picture of urban amenity.

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Bingo Bango Boingo's picture

Well if we're talking about the production of urban amenity then the proposed tower is massively more productive than the existing building. It provides about the same, if not slightly more, active frontage to the street and functions as a home for tens, if not hundreds, of people.

Incidentally, the existing building is fairly typical of the thoughtlessness of much of the late(ish?) Edwardian architecture foisted upon Melbourne's light industrial context. Its design is perfunctory at best, and downright lazy at worst. You can see that they've tried to tart up the line of the parapet a little, but it hasn't worked at all. It's alarming that anyone with an interest in built heritage could describe it as "very special indeed".

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Ryan Seychell's picture


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Adrian's picture

My point was/is RL are not in the business of designing crap.

This building looks quite good. Precast house of cards is best applied to certain other architects I would have thought.

Looks quite good ? Where is the architectural merit in this proposal ? From the renders above all I see is a generic box with windows - even CE put more effort into (some) of their designs. But alas ..

I agree that on Lt.Lonsdale St the outcome will be better than what is currently there - Little Londale Street needs more renewal at street level similar to what Brady provided with Melb Star/Sky. That existing building deadens the streetscape as do similar dilapidated buildings around it.

If the only way to get that renewal is to build an apartment tower above it which has the double bonus of injecting more people and life into the street then all the better, but not at the expense of the character of the neighborhood.

I also agree this facade ain't anything that special.

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Bilby's picture

The existing Edwardian warehouse is special, however, unlike the generic facade proposed, but not because of any outstanding architectural qualities. It is special now because it is part of a remnant precinct of similarly utilitarian brick industrial buildings, centred on Melbourne's old lane ways and little streets. It is special because it could have provided an increasingly rare experience of urban space in the CBD that actually speaks of Melbourne's past, and provides continuity with its future.

To argue that this building "deadens the streetscape as do similar dilapidated buildings around it" entirely misses the point about reusing and adapting heritage buildings.

With that sort of attitude, we would have demolished all of Fitzroy, South Melbourne, St. Kilda and Carlton long ago when they were slums (many argued for this, and some progress was made toward this aim with the construction of the Housing Commission towers and the clearance of "slum" blocks).

Believe it or not, there was a time when Brunswick Street itself had barely any "active frontages", because it too had become "dilapidated".

With the sort of attitude you advocate, we should allow the demolition of all of Melbourne's remaining heritage laneway precincts, full as they are, of contributory, but largely unremarkable and utilitarian heritage buildings. Maybe that is what you believe, Adrian - but if so, you have a very different vision for Melbourne than most Melburnians, who really do seem to love the historic quality of their lane way and heritage precincts as the most unique aspect of our city.

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Riddlz's picture
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Bilby's picture

Yet again, the promo website uses heritage precincts to sell the building, while demolishing the heritage on its own allotment:

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Riddlz's picture

And it also uses images of a schmick, stylish area of a shopping centre, similar to what is being presented with the development itself.

Are you actually suggesting that Streets like Guildford lane and Mclean Alley could ever become attractions to rival that of Degraves street?

They are probably far too restrictive in terms of the built form to ever be conductive to that level, scale and type of human activity.

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Bilby's picture

Yes, that's exactly what I'm suggesting ... Don't forget that like Guildford Lane, Degraves Street, emptied of people, awnings and signage is just a derelict, "unremarkable" collection of heritage buildings:

http://www.krimper.com.au/#home



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Riddlz's picture

Well, I completely disagree with you. Can't see it ever becoming as popular, maybe a couple more boutique shops/cafes.

But I guess we better get that heritage overlay for Guildford Lane, only time will tell how it turns out.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

Degraves Street and Centre Place have historically been very busy pedestrian thoroughfares in the retail heart of the city lined with impressive buildings facing Flinders Street and Flinders Lane. Guildford Lane was warehouses and light industrial premises so the buildings individually are not as impressive in scale or design but as a group they are remarkably intact.

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