Planning Application > 221 Pelham Street, Carlton

The eastern flank of Haymarket roundabout is set to bulk up further, with a planning application lodged with Melbourne City Council during April for 221 Pelham Street, Carlton.

Put forward by developer-builder Vaughans Constructions, below is an image of the proposed development which was sourced via the Vaughans website. If approved, 221 Pelham Street will join a growing number of mixed-use towers surrounding Haymarket roundabout, inline with City of Melbourne's City North structure Plan which seeks to densify the area.

Project Summary

  • 205-223 Pelham Street @ 708 sq.m, currently a Reece Plumbing outlet
  • Proposed is a 15 level, 50.2 metre residential tower
  • Ground floor incorporates 25 bicycle bays, 37 car parking spaces plus a 75 sq.m retail outlet
  • 82 apartments with 8 x 1BR + 74 x 2BR generally within the 50-70 sq.m bracket
  • Podium to boundary with a street wall of 24m, upper levels recessed
  • Urban Garden atop the podium included within the proposed development

John Davey Architects design statement:

Pelham Apartments aims to create a building that, through the use of definable sculptural elements, engages with its surroundings and occupants alike. A repetitive 'zig-zag' sculptural pattern creates a rhythm that envelopes the building along its four facades, transforms in material in response to height & translates internally through fenestration & form. The overall mass of the proposal ties in with the higher built forms fronting University Square, and the uniquely shaped site affords the opportunity for flexible internal layouts with uncompromised access to views & natural light.

Having said that the planning report also states not all bedrooms are provided with direct source of natural light. To counter this the architect has devised a flexible floor plan layout (via partitions) where second bedrooms can be adapted to other uses; living room, a study etc.

These 'flexi' apartments can be modified for different functions via full height, extra wide sliding timber panels and flexible joinery, in a similar manner to the development at 103 Pelham Street for the 'Bravo' apartments. While there are a number of bedrooms which rely on borrowed light, they have been appropriately positioned to ensure that they are able to receive adequate daylight from the main living areas.

Externally the tower is dominated by precast concrete panels carrying a feature pattern. Silver and grey perforated metal screens act as balustrades over lower levels while glass, aluminium window frames and aluminium cladding dominate elsewhere. The southern blank wall has been earmarked for an urban art piece, but will be subject to further design works separate to this application.

Owing to its current use, the existing warehouse makes little effort to engage with its surrounds and is subject to a Building Order issued by City of Melbourne which requires remediation works. With demolition the likely outcome, Pelham Apartments would enliven the streetscape by way of a glass fronted corner retail outlet, whilst the opposite corner would contain the tower entrance/lobby which promotes foot traffic to all three street frontages.

221 Pelham Street represents Vaughans Constructions latest foray into the buoyant Melbourne apartment market. The predominantly industrial builder turned apartment developer is set to finish vanguard development Bravo Apartments located at 103 Pelham Street shortly. Joining 221 Pelham Street in waiting will be Argyle Apartments which fronts Cardigan Street, marking Carlton as a honey pot of sorts for the developer.

Project team

Vaughans Constructions
John Davey Architects
Town Planning
Fulcrum Urban Planning
Traffic & Transport
Cardno Victoria Pty Ltd
Waste Management Plan
Leigh Design
Accessibility & DDA Report
One Group
Sustainability Management Plan
Sustainable Development Consultants


Bilby's picture

Yet more destruction of the industrial heritage of this historic section of south Carlton. The current building should absolutely be repaired and restored - soon there will be little evidence of the precinct's industrial heritage at all, which is a sad loss for those future residents who will have to live in an area devoid of a sense of connection to its past. The building obviously could have been skilfully retained and integrated into the new development by the architect, with the result being a much more interesting and engaging street presence. As it is, this is lazy and culturally destructive - this is not the way forward in densifying the remaining historic precincts of Melbourne.

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Vinny's picture

Agree 100% with Bilby. Sympathetic infill just isn’t a concept local architects can comprehend; nor the Melbourne City Council. ‘Externally the tower is dominated by precast concrete panels carrying a feature pattern’; says it all, really. The last thing Carlton needs is another banal piece of soulless architecture. Anyone been to the top end of Swanston St lately? It aint pretty...

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Bilby's picture

Yes, you have a point, Vinny, employing a 'feature pattern' never bodes well for a thoughtful and inventive architectural response to an important civic project, does it?

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

This proposal was amended to keep the facade of the existing building and the land and reduce the height to 12 levels and 41 metres. VCAT has approved the amended plans.

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Bilby's picture

Here is the decision - the discussion around contradictory policy making re: encouraging density in the precinct vs a heritage overlay is interesting reading, as is the (disturbing) discussion of the panel member about the acceptability of façadism:

And here is the heritage report from the developer's heritage consultant - a familiar, if frequently derided, figure on the Melbourne heritage scene:

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

Much improved verison of this development that was approved:

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