Planning Application > 385-405 King Street, West Melbourne

West Melbourne continues its upward trajectory with the subject of today's article the third intended project for Singaporean-backed World Class Land in Melbourne. Foreshadowed on Urban Melbourne during October, 385-405 King Street West Melbourne seeks to replace an existing office block with an Elenberg Fraser-designed apartment tower defined by its angular, fragmented facade.

One of a host of tall residential towers slated for West Melbourne, 385-405 King Street is perhaps the most high-profile in that it directly fronts Flagstaff Gardens; a point not lost upon the development team.

385-405 King Street, West Melbourne summary

The site as is. Image courtesy Elenberg Fraser
  • Current 2,206sqm site use: 10 level/40 metre office building.
  • Planning application submitted July 2014.
  • Proposed: 23 level residential tower at 73.3 metres.
  • ​Total GFA 32,910sqm.
  • ​392 apartments: 190*1BR / 184*2BR / 3*3BR / 8*Penthouse apartments.
  • Four retail tenancies totaling 904sqm facing King and Jeffcott streets.
  • ​Basement catering for 95 car parking spaces and 246 bicycles.
  • Rooftop terrace.

Elenberg Fraser design statement

Flagstaff Hill is celebrated as an everchanging historical monument. The history of the hill is described in the Flagstaff Gardens Masterplan as a landscape with layers of fragmented patterns.

The extensive tree canopies throughout the gardens create an ethereal atmosphere; the constantly changing, intangible qualities of dappled light are expressed in the proposed design through the faceted façade. The appearance of the building constantly changes depending on the position of the viewer. The faceted parts of the façade offer fragmented reflections of the park, sky and surrounding cityscape.

The Modernist and High Victorian architectural styles of the surrounding buildings are a record of Melbourne’s architectural and social development. The proposed development aims to carry on the built legacy of these urban artefacts by reinterpreting these styles in a new and contemporary architecture born of the immediate area.

Elenberg Fraser, Urban Context Report
Artist's impression of the tower in situ. Image courtesy Elenberg Fraser

While the tower's massing is designed to achieve an outcome consistent with applicable building controls, 385-405 King Street's exterior is the major design draw card. Consisting primarily of silver glazing with bronze and clear glazing for highlights, the facade is expected to be highly reflective.

In this way the tower will essentially appear as predominantly blue or green in capturing the sky or Flagstaff Gardens over the diagonally articulated facade.

18 separate apartment type are included within the proposed tower, distributed into apartments with one, two or three bedrooms, all with balconies. The smaller single bedroom apartments contain 40sqm of internal living space ranging up to 59sqm while two bedroom dwellings are in the 45sqm to 77sqm range.

Standard three bedroom apartments carry 88sqm of internal space while three bedroom penthouses are boosted to between 120sqm and 142sqm of internal area.

To service the 392 apartments, an amenities rooftop terrace has been included. Created by Jack Merlo Design, the core activities area will consist of a lounge, dining area, library, kitchen, additional lounge and theatrette. Flanking the central area will be dual lawn areas featuring expansive views, daybeds and landscaping highlighted by hanging Ornamental Grape vines.

Landscape format. Image courtesy Jack Merlo

Schedule 33 of the Design and Development Overlay requires any new development does not shadow Flagstaff Gardens during the September equinox between the hours of 11am and 2pm. This is achieved with a shadow cast over Flagstaff Gardens only late into the afternoon.

Submitted during July, 385-405 King Street has yet to appear on Future Melbourne's list of assessed projects and given the State election leading into the year's end, it's unlikely a final planning decision will be publicly revealed until the first quarter of 2015.

385-405 King Street, West Melbourne development team

  • Developer: Aspial - World Class Land
  • Architect: Elenberg Fraser
  • Planning: Urbis
  • Traffic Engineering: GTA Consultants
  • Waste Management: Leigh Design
  • Wind assessment: Mel Consultants
  • ESD: ADP Consultants


Mark Baljak's picture

City of Melbourne look likely to reject based upon the Future Melbourne report. The hot seat cometh for the new Minister

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Bilby's picture

And I actually liked this one, too! What are the reasons for rejection?

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Melbourne Planner's picture

Report link here -

Looks like the devil is in the detail.

Deferred last night at Council and likely to return early in the new year.

Suspect the applicant is going to try and redesign to resolve the issues.

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Bilby's picture

Thanks for that. I see - there are some serious amenity issues with the design of this building, as with EF's recent A'Beckett St. tower. Sometimes I think developers and their architects should be subject to Rawl's 'Veil of Ignorance'. I.e., when applied to a case like this, imagine that there was no way to know where you were going to end up living at the end of the design process. It could be in a mansion, or it could be in one of your own apartments. If there was a more or less equal likelihood that you could end up living in your own building, would you still design the same apartments?

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

I think you will find worse layouts in many new apartment developments designed by many different architects.

I think COM was being a bit picky about the 'saddlebag' layout of the apartments. It is much better than having bedrooms with no windows at all that was common in proposals a couple of years ago. The living areas have extensive windows which is more important and the balconies are sheltered which means that they will actually be more useful.

I couldn't see a significant problem with the layout except for the apartments that have 1.7 metre high screening across the width of the balcony, but that was only handful of apartments.

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Bilby's picture

Have you lived in an apartment like this, Nicholas?

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

I lived in a small, 1960's style apartment for many years. The biggest problem I had in that apartment was stopping the summer sun from making the bedrooms unbearably hot in summer.

I would have no problem living in the apartments proposed in this building (except for ones I mentioned).

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