Another week has passed and another sizeable planning application appears on the radar with near regular monotony. Lodged during September and due for public advertising, 601 St Kilda Road currently lies with City of Port Phillip planners who will in due course decide whether the three building scheme is appropriate for the site in question which also fronts High Street and is opposite the Victorian College for the Deaf.
Having been acquired by Summerhill Property Pty Ltd, 601 St Kilda Road is currently a sprawling low rise office complex on a site of some 7300 m². Subsequently Summerhill Property Pty Ltd have enlisted the seemingly omnipresent Elenberg Fraser to conceive a scheme that the developer hopes will accommodate near 1000 residents upon completion.
Two 20 level buildings and a single 9 level block constitute the proposed development with the high mark being the northern 20 level tower on the High Street and St Kilda Road intersection, defined by its swept form as it transitions higher from east to west. A total of 473 apartments have been slated for 601 St Kilda Road, while a three level basement car park will provide bays for 429 vehicles, 466 bicycles and 30 motorcycles/scooters with the underground entry to be maintained from High Street.
Building 1 which holds position over the busy intersection will consist of 157 apartments, where 84 will carry one bedroom, 66 with two bedrooms and 7 with three bedrooms and prime views. Building 2 is larger with 94 single bedroom dwellings, 128 dual bedroom apartments and a solitary three bedroom apartment totalling 223. This leaves Building 3 which consists of 52 single bedroom apartments and 41 dual bedroom options.
Much consideration has been placed toward the tower's exterior within the planning application where Elenberg Fraser talks of "A narrow core-to-perimiter floor plate depth ensuring maximum views, light, and passive ventilation to apartment interiors as well as full frontages to the exterior facade to all bedrooms." The majority of apartments will feature an operable louvred facade backed with internal, moveable perforated timber screens which can create winter gardens at the resident's behest while also introducing a dynamic element to the buildings if viewed externally. Central to the design ethos, the screens allow light penetration, maintain privacy, shield against the summer sun and allow the resident to create another room at a moment's whim.
Below is the curtain wall 'patchwork' concept taken from the planning application which explores a variety of designs applied to the facade by the use of varying colours and operable/fixed windows, with the preferred design to the right.
Very few apartment development sites through Melbourne have such an excess of land to indulge on and project landscape architect Tract Consultants have certainly delivered a grand vision. Their landscape design concept for 601 St Kilda Road centres around "The idea of a lush continuous garden with emergent architectural forms rising upwards. Larger greenery is clustered around the three buildings as to transition into each built form while complementing the existing St Kilda Road foliage. An outdoor cafe, lawn bowls green, pond and passive zone headline the landscape works while each building will host resident facilities."
Building 1 hosts a communal lounge, indoor/outdoor dining facilities and private room while a 134 m² retail tenancy faces St Kilda Road. Building 2 hosts an indoor/outdoor residents gym while Building 3 will have a theatre room located on the ground floor; the spread of amenity over three buildings may well aid in bringing increased foot traffic and activity to the internal areas of the development. All buildings maintain a passageway that bisects the ground floor layout which breaks the bulk of the buildings in question from ground level.
Given that the three buildings are within close proximity to one another, the planning application has singled out privacy as a key issue. The operable louvre system plays its part while minimum distances between buildings is 9 metres, increasing to 35 metres from the centre of the internal garden. Buildings 2 and 3 maintain minimum 10 metre setbacks to neighbouring existing properties.
Above level 9, Building 1 includes large external terraces where a swept back form is maintained in order to respect the existing built form along High Street. Privacy considerations are incorporated in that the design allows for views of the courtyard below, yet blocks views to other apartments with an internal aspect by way of the aforementioned winter gardens, internal louvre system and glazing mullions.
601 St Kilda Road is certainly in the top echelon of planning applications covered by urban Melbourne to date, with a planning decision likely during the first half of 2014.
Credit where it is due; to date the project team consists of: