Aspial seek to deliver another marquee Melbourne tower

Lodged for approval during June, Aspial-World Class Land Pty Ltd have sought to amend an existing planning permit for 54-64 A'Beckett Street with a taller, grander residential project put forward.

Designed by Elenberg Fraser, the pinkish-red tower would hold a slender, easily recognisable form in Melbourne's northern skyline, discerning itself with a diagrid facade which 'collapses' as the form reaches ground level. Planning application documents suggests that the revamped design would provide an increased positive contribution to the northern precinct of Melbourne's CBD in terms of design livability and visual amenity.

54-64 A'Beckett Street summary

  • Site area: 1,280sqm
  • Current use: 1 & 3 level commercial buildings
  • Previously approved: 50 level residential tower of 502 apartments
  • Current application: 81 levels @ 253.65
  • 750 apartments (300 1B + 450 2B)
  • 126 car spaces and 370 bicycles
  • 1,862sqm communal area over three levels
  • 90sqm retail space

See more images of the striking 54-64 A'Beckett Street within the forum thread.

Surface phenomena. Image © Elenberg Fraser

Surface phenomena

The design proposal uses a treatment that expresses the structural charactersitics of the building. This treatment has been applied as a surface treatment nad then modulated to wrap around the entire building, creating as super surface.

The super surface treatment resembles a weave like pattern that wraps the mass, compressing as it reaches the ground and being extruded as stretches towards the to of the building. The treatment is made up of a network of white aluminium fins.

Elenberg Fraser

54-64 A'Beckett Street's corners are also chamfered within each facade segment, emphasising the prevailing pattern while also allowing winds to work around the building in an easier fashion. With the neighbouring MY80 residential tower in close proximity, directional fins have been applied to the blush-coloured facade, thus negating overlooking between towers while still maintaining resident view lines for the most.

From the ground up

Elenberg Fraser have designed the ground floor with "direct reference to the buildings across A’beckett Street." The provision of a double height, clear glazed foyer is designed to reference the height of the buildings opposite while also enclosing a cafe courtyard.

Parking for 128 vehicles is found over levels 2-8, with apartments fronting the A’Beckett Street podium in order to maintain a degree of activity. The general shape of the tower is that of a ‘L’ shape, in keeping with the site while setbacks are included to all boundaries, excluding a small portion of the east boundary.

Within the tower, single bedroom apartments fall within the 40-50sqm bracket while two bedroom apartments are generally within the 50-60sqm range according to the planning report development summary. It can be suggested that based upon the apartment mix and sizes, investor/rental stock will play its part in 54-64 A'Beckett Street's overall composition

‘Vertical living’ – analysis of residential amenity

A key aspect of the amended design has been the focus to improve the internal amenity of the apartments and that generally of the overall development for future residents. High rise housing is becoming commonplace throughout the Melbourne CBD and inner renewal areas as a result of both the population increases and strong desire by the market for inner city accommodation options.

We are now seeing the emergence of ‘vertical communities’ which provide important outdoor and communal spaces for residents of these new apartment buildings.


Improvements over the initial design sees the deletion of internally facing podium apartments, replacing studio and borrowed light apartments within the podium with layouts allowing for natural light and ventilation plus the provisions above which negate privacy concerns.

1,862sqm of communal space is located over spaces at ground level, L10 and L80. A gym, group fitness studio, lap pool and associated recreation area (sauna, wading pool, steam room and sauna) and outdoor balcony/ urban landscaped terrace consue the useable area over level 10.

Designed as a mass entertaining space, level 80 will hold two dining rooms and catering kitchens able to be booked by tenants, a large outdoor communal garden terrace, viewing room, poker/games room, lounge and entertainment room, informal dining and BBQ area. Urbis contends that the high level of internal amenity in forthcoming projects such as 54-64 A'Beckett Street will in part reduce additional demand placed on surrounding areas of public open space as the CBD's population increases.

Lobby render taken from the planning application. Image © Elenberg Fraser

54-64 A'Beckett Street joins the much discussed 70 Southbank Boulevard as Aspial - World Class Land's two initial Melbourne developments; 70 Southbank Boulevard being the abrogated Australia 108 project. While sales for what will be Melbourne's tallest tower on Southbank are expected to start in the new year, the Singaporean-backed local arm last week submitted their third Melbourne development for approval.

385-405 King Street was scooped by ­Aspial last year for $41.5 million and is now subject to an application seeking a 23 level residential tower. The current commercial building is to make way for the expectation of 392 apartments and a host of retail tenancies.

Combined the three projects yield Aspial - World Class Land a development pipeline of 2247 apartments in Melbourne.

Project team

  • Client: Aspial Corporation - World Class Land Pty Ltd
  • Architect: Elenberg Fraser
  • Town Planner: Urbis
  • Façade Consultant: Aurecon Group
  • Traffic Consultant: TTM Consulting
  • Wind Consultant: MEL Consulting
  • Structural Consultant: Winward Group
  • Services Consultant: Murchie Consulting
  • Quantity Surveyor: Slattery Australia
  • ESD Consultant: Murchie Consulting
  • Aviation Consultant: Thompson GCS
  • Waste Consultant: Leigh Design


Melbourne_Fragments's picture

Great tower, but wouldnt it be better to 'reference the heritage buildings across the street' by actually retaining the matching historic buildings at ground floor instead of an inactive glass frontage?

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Andrew's picture

Agreed. The four story red brick building could still work as a ground level cafe, just widen the entrance a bit and hollow out the interior. I think that building should have at least been attempted to be retained because the exterior wall makes up part of the carpark entrance laneway, which will no doubt be precast now.

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troy's picture

Great design,love the pinkish red coulors too.

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Rohan Storey's picture

While straight up vertical tall thin towers look great, this one is only like 6m away from MY80 and the office block on elix street and ? 3m from boundary to the east that might one day have a tower too ? Not much residential amenity when theres very little light, reduced even more by the fins....

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johnproctor's picture

lol. too true. (to Melbourne Fragments iniital post!)

while its a nice design its yet another example of lazy and cheap developers and architects not bothering to incorporate interesting buildings.

while I think it would have looked odd to keep both lower buildings wiht a tower above perhaps the could have demolished the single storey warehouse and kept the three storey red brick building with the modern architectural statement coming on where the single storey warehouse was and then protuding into hte back and above the 3 storey building...

eg. keep say the front 10m and the entire eastern wall of the 3 storey building to provide a bit of character on the street and along the laneway. with a cafe in the lower floor and maybe in the upper floor some nice rooms for resident amenities like a resident dining room and/or resident cinema in the 'heritage room'

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Bilby's picture

All very well to demolish the single storey early car showroom, Johnproctor, but in many ways, it is the more significant heritage building on the site. How many others of its kind exist in Victoria today? (That's not a rhetorical question) It is an extremely rare example of this kind of early commercial building associated with the motor car in the CBD - we won't be seeing any more of this kind of building ... ever. The Edwardian warehouse, is stunning and worth retaining, but nowhere near as rare. Really, there should be no question - both should be retained and some other design solution found to incorporate them into the development in a meaningful way.

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