Lend Lease have circulated an April newsletter for their forthcoming Batman's Hill development which outlines plans for the two commercial buildings that will front Melbourne's premier locale: Collins Street. Included within the newsletter are images of the dual commercial buildings that as of last week were submitted to State planning body DTPLI for assessment.
Upon first glance last week - and up to this point - little has changed in my opinion of these two proposed buildings.
With a half deck covering Wurundjeri Way as envisaged below, poor old Bunjil, the 25 metre eaglehawk and Docklands sentinel will be relocated. Relocated between Towers C3 and C4 and for the most, lost out of view. I can't help but think the abbreviated deck over Wurundjeri Way has compressed the layout of the commercial buildings leading to maximising the available development envelope - in other words boxy designs fronting Collins Street with little if any setbacks.
The other aspect to note is that the C4 office tower that was expected to reach as high as 160 metres and now looks to be no more than 12 levels in height according to the above image. This pocket of Docklands is littered with boxy 10-15 level commercial buildings - one more to join the party!
Not impressed with my assertion that 695 Collins Street as seen above is a hapless, ill conceived design? Ponder the following two designs.
Below left sees the Grocon/Mirvac/Hassell Studio concept for Batman's Hill. Aside from a signature high-rise that would define the precinct within Melbourne's skyline, Hassell's scheme carries far more open space by way of a larger deck over Wurundjeri Way and built form which is articulate yet uncluttered.
The other image below highlights ARM's ostentatious Collins Street frontage as part of their precinct design; unique, eye-catching and worthy of the address!
In other words, both examples and their Collins Street frontage are precisely what Docklands requires and a polar opposite to what has been proposed.
By some miracle should the Lend Lease scheme shown above not be the intended design for 695 Collins Street, I'll be the first one to say the joke's on me. Otherwise the joke's on anyone expecting a quality outcome for an area that truly needs it!