West Melbourne continues its impressive run toward the latter part of 2014 with yet another large-scale planning application currently before authorities. Located on the northern side of La Trobe Street between Spencer and King, City of Melbourne is currently assessing the merits of the residential tower which may accommodate 247 apartments if approved.
Sold by agent Savills during August 2014, new owner Spacious Property Development Group is behind the current 488-494 La Trobe Street proposal which is adjacent to a large vacant block, itself expected to become a prime residential development in due course.
The concept for the exterior design has evolved from a carefully considered desire to create a timeless design solution. One which contributes a strong, elegant and pure form to the city's skyline. Notions of balance and symmetry lead to the pure vertical expression of tower, and created a 'Ying and Yang' dynamic between the key components.
This dynamic also allowed for a refined palette of materials. With the central component representing the solidity and strength of stone, while the northern and southern components mirror each other, and represent the graceful shimmer of water. The podium levels also take these concepts further at a scale designed to relate to the public realm.Rothelowman, planning documents
Atop three basement levels sits a ground floor heavy with building services. With three apartments located to the northern edge of the ground floor, the La Trobe Street frontage is dominated by the building substation, car park entry and hydrant booster resulting in little activation to the main pedestrian thoroughfare.
Subsequent podium levels are almost exclusively devoted to two bedroom dwellings with a smattering of single bedroom apartments included. Designed to the eastern boundary, the tower element will maintain a setback to the western boundary of 5.5 metres with an almost generic floor plan incorporated over levels 6-30. Eight apartments per level is the norm where two bedroom apartments are to floor plate corners while single bedroom apartments are clustered around the lift well to the centre of the proposed tower.
Crowning the development would be an external CBD-facing terrace of 135sqm supplemented by in excess of 140sqm internal residential amenity, consisting of dining, lounge and cinema areas.
A number of salient points have been made in forum discussion regarding the recent planning application for 488-494 La Trobe Street. While the existing building onsite has not been included in the City Heritage Review, its loss would represent a further erosion of the historic fabric of inner Melbourne.
It's most definitely a shame the existing frontage has not been incorporated into the proposed tower, but we're not privy to development team discussions and must assume there remains an overpowering reason for the deletion of the existing structure.
Overall the curtain facade offset by a strong vertical element provides a sharp contrast to the many existing and proposed apartment towers, while also providing a practical common wall to the east and west boundaries. While these flanks represent "The solidity and strength of stone," they in actuality would consist of precast panels in varied colours and finishes according to the materials schedule; not quite the refined finish of polished concrete or stone.