Toorak Park is the outcome of a decade of development overtones for an expansive and formerly underutilised site abutting Toorak Station.
Few projects across Melbourne are larger in terms of site size, with developer Lendlease over recent months applying the finishing touches to 446 apartments and 18 townhouses across a host of buildings. What makes Toorak Park particularly impressive though is the extensive greenery and public permeability across its ground plane.
Often by necessity the vast majority of Melbourne's apartments buildings find themselves in a truly urban context; surrounded by other buildings they are small in footprint and often lack expressive, inclusive or even interesting public realm outcomes.
Toorak Park is at the opposite end of the scale; it is not an outwardly flashy development but when roughly 35% of the site's 2.5 hectares has been seeded to green areas or parkland, it becomes an excellent public outcome.
The development team consists of Lendlease as developer/builder, Denton Corker Marshall as architect, Carr Design Group account for interiors and Tract Consultants who devised the project's landscaped areas.
Various buildings up to 12 levels dot the site, and generally present with the same architectural form and expression. Whilst they may not rank as among the most impressive buildings in Melbourne, the format and execution across the project's ground plane is deservedly worthy of praise and equal to any that Urban Melbourne has reported on in recent years.
The development is bound by Orrong Road, Toorak Railway Station, Osment Street, Toorak Park and Victory Square Reserve. Greenery, permeability, and wayfinding are all present, as is a new alternative route in accessing Toorak Station and Beatty Avenue via the heart of the site.
Toorak Park is a shining example of the accord that can be achieved when new development is inclusive of publicly accessible green spaces.
Wide, clear and well-signed paths, an immense number of plantings right across the development and the separation between vehicle access and pedestrian space are all on show; the latter is especially noticeable and makes for a quiet and safe experience when walking through the finished product.
The pre-existing pedestrian link from Orrong Road to Toorak Station which flanks the site's northern border is a prime example of what effective landscaping can do. The narrow passage formerly lined by cyclone fencing now enjoys stepped layers of greenery that provides a lit and safe pedestrian space, whilst also masking the necessary security and privacy measures for residents directly behind.
During the project's sales campaign Tract director and landscape architect Mike Stokes was quoted as saying "We create landscapes that grow old gracefully. We were mindful of the spaces between all the buildings, and responded to leafy surrounding suburbs, such as Toorak, Armadale, and Prahran."
Once the new plantings reach maturity and the overall development is 'worn in', it will be interesting to see just how gracefully the landscape around Toorak Park ages, given how impressive it is right now.
See below various images of Toorak Park taken during August.