Not so straight forward > 25-35 Power Street, Southbank

Blink and you would have missed it!  Within weeks of this prime Southbank development site at 25-35 Power Street (also known as 38 Freshwater Place) landing a new owner, a planning application landed in the lap of determining body DTPLI.  Having the site purchase announced during October, new owner Freshwater No 6 Pty Ltd, a company located within the Sydney suburb of Rhodes, wasted no time in submitting detailed plans for a 70 storey mixed-use tower with an expected end value of approximately $400 million.

Docklands-based firm Metier 3 were commissioned for the design, located on a 3096 m2 site in an area already heavy with high-rise developments.  If approved 25-35 Power Street seeks to join four other 200 metre plus towers on this 'Southbank block of strength,' including Prima Pearl, Queensbridge Tower and 25 Queensbridge Street, although for reasons unbeknown the latter 236 metre approved tower was omitted from the diagram below.  Minimum distance to 25-35 Power Street's closest residential neighbour is 27.5 metres.

Surrounded by towers with regular, if not interestingly shaped floor plates, Metier 3 have chosen to design a tower with an irregular, tapering floor plate which they describe as:

"Taking the curvaceous two dimensional forms of those buildings both existing and proposed in close proximity and translating this into a true three dimensional form the building mass draws inspiration from the feminine form. With flowing curves and material patterning reminiscent of ballroom gowns and highly detailed junctions, the evoking comparison to Pavé jewellery, the built form will entail a sense of materiality and form in counterpoint to the more rigid forms adjacent."

"My work is not about form follows function, but form follows beauty, or, even better, form follow feminine"
Quoting Oscar Niemeyer above, Metier 3's objective was to create a unique tower form and that box has been ticked.  What pleases the author to no end is the use of textured stone cladding over lower levels and also the tower's leading edge fronting Power Street.  Stone is a quality, timeless material that is exponentially better than painted precast panels, yet has fallen out of favour in Melbourne seemingly.
Complementing the stone will be aluminium composite panels and metal trim finishes, while the dominant element will be the towers glazing which according to the materials schedule is verging on army green in appearance - it surely won't be missed in the skyline!
It's also refreshing to see a continuous tower form from the ground up where the podium is not clearly defined and tower not set back from Power Street, although one wonders whether DTPLI and Melbourne City Council will be suitable impressed. And what of the all important street activation where the public will predominantly interact with the complex?  Whilst the absolute street frontage is dominated by a Port Cochere entry servicing the hotel lobby and existing vehicle access to the adjoining office tower, plantings and an arched canopy seek to soften the street view.
The ground floor sees a public access arcade link Power Street to the existing internal garden and retail facilities of Freshwater Place, and Queensbridge Square beyond.

With one basement level car park, ground floor as mentioned hosts seven separate retail spaces fronting the arcade, in addition to the expected hotel/apartments lobbies and ancillary services such as loading etc.  Mezzanine floor also hosts four retail spaces for a total of 1,300 m2.  With the proceeding five levels of podium car parking, a total of 240 vehicles and 146 bicycles are accommodated.

178 one and two-bedroom boutique apartments cover the first ten inhabitable floors, with the assumption that these are short stay and/or serviced apartments. Thereafter 32 levels of traditional apartments follow with 318 in total spread between 82 one, 156 two and 80 three bedroom options - 80 three bedders at between 120-150 square metres each equates to 25% of total traditional apartment offerings.  

This is the highest percentile of three bedroom apartments in any development covered by Urban Melbourne and speaks toward the intended quality/target market for this development.

Proceeding these will be an entire commercial floor containing 21 office suites, a hotel sky lobby and back of house services located on level 51 while dual floors covering conference, restaurant and function facilities follow.  15 hotel floors absorb levels 54-68 with the typical hotel floor containing 24 single bed dwellings, while hotel facilities line the remaining two floors which include a sky bar and pool the best part of 260 metres above ground.

The associated traffic report prepared by GTA Consultants shows 480 car spaces within the development meets statutory requirements, whilst also remaining under the total 2,300 car park threshold for the entire Freshwater site.  Also noted is the failure of 146 bicycle spaces in meeting statutory requirements, with a minimum 171 spaces required.

Quoting the report, "The site is expected to generate up to 190 and 230 vehicle movements in the AM and PM peak hours respectively.  There is adequate capacity in the surrounding road network to cater for the traffic generated by the proposed development."  Adequate capacity there may be for 25-35 Power Street, but the sheer number of proposed towers in Southbank and the traffic they would generate if realised would surely make Southbank an 'interesting' place to navigate in a decade's time.

Overall a total of 846 separate dwellings within 25-35 Power Street would not only see it become one of Melbourne's tallest buildings, but likely the densest liveable structure in Melbourne; a planning decision is not expected for some months.


Andrew's picture

Great writeup, hope to see it rising in the years to come.

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primapearl's picture

A bad idea to have another building like this. Want to have another Hong Kong?

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Alastair Taylor's picture

Why are some people so infatuated with comparing Melbourne proposals and Southbank to Hong Kong when the comparison couldn't be more absurd?

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Mark Baljak's picture

a bunch of tall, thin skyscrapers within close proximity...seems like a fairly apt comparison in that regard.

not so much in others

Primapearl - bad idea in that you're a future resident of the building and don't want to be crowded in?

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Riccardo's picture

What's wrong with Hong Kong? A wealthier, more vibrant and internationally prominent city than Melbourne, in an excellent natural setting. Suffered if anything from being more popular than Melbourne, and, like Sydney, valuing its natural setting so much it made nearly half of its land area protected Country Park, with the population concentrated in the balance.

Melbourne, on the other hand, just sprawled.

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Riccardo's picture

"Adequate capacity there may be for 25-35 Power Street, but the sheer number of proposed towers in Southbank and the traffic they would generate if realised would surely make Southbank an 'interesting' place to navigate in a decade's time."

If they had some public transport there wouldn't be such a problem.

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