Planning application: 295-309 King Street, Melbourne

Constantin Brancusi's Bird in Space, Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase and the iridescent nature of a bubble which captures the reflection and refraction of light waves via its surface. Not the first thoughts that come to mind for the average reader contemplating the design impetus behind Plus Architecture's scheme for 295-309 King Street, Melbourne.

Nonetheless they have been listed as major influences upon what may become one of Melbourne's tallest apartment towers should it gain approval.

The proponent for 295-309 King Street is Farinia Pty Ltd and that entity is seeking permission to replace two low-rise office buildings within a western pocket of Melbourne's CBD, which is experiencing gargantuan levels of development at the moment. Town planning agency Urbis state within their associated report:

The 81-level proposal is appropriate to its changing and emerging urban context. Currently the west precinct of the City lacks significant architectural developments and this proposal will contribute to the emerging contemporary character of the area.

Urbis, planning permit application report
The above have been cited as design impetus. Image © Plus Architecture

295-309 King Street, Melbourne

  • Current 1,301sqm site use: dual low-rise commercial buildings
  • Planning application submitted October 2014
  • Proposed 83 level residential tower at 269.45 metres to LMR
  • Total GFA: 58,984sqm
  • 603 apartments: 99*studio / 239*1BR / 238*2BR / 15*3BR / 12*Penthouses
  • 124 car spaces (stacker) / 290 bicycle spaces / 18 motorcycle spaces
  • 415 storage units
  • Residential amenities and common areas provided at Levels 10 and 79

An iridescent facade

Facade section. Image © Plus Architecture

Dominating 295-309 King Street's exterior will be a curtain glaze of iridescent panels capable of capturing the light spectrum in a manner unlike any other Melbourne tower. The façade will change appearance depending upon factors such as weather conditions and the angle from which it is viewed.

Plus Architecture’s design for the proposed building embodies elegance, flair and sophistication and adds a high quality signature element to the evolving northern and western residential fringe of Melbourne’s CBD. The unique built form has been inspired by the concept of a budding flower, and as a result, presents as a number of tapering curves revolving around a centre point.

Urbis, planning permit application report

With its splayed shape and unique façade capable of creating its own distinct detail, Plus Architecture have strived to set 295-309 King Street apart from all other Melbourne buildings.

From the ground up

  • Basement: single basement level which would accommodate services, storage cages and bicycle parking
  • Ground: three retail tenancies plus the residential lobby and building services
  • Level 1-7: car parking, apartments to street frontages plus a community centre facing King Street
  • Level 8: studio, two and three bedroom apartments plus 70 stores
  • Level 9: plant services
  • Level 10: pool, gym, library/lounge, yoga/pilates studio and 78 stores
  • Level 11-50: apartments with a mixture of layouts
  • Level 51: plant services
  • Level 52-75: apartments with a mixture of layouts
  • Level 76-78: penthouses, smallest at 151sqm
  • Level 79: lounge, wine cellar, dining area, karaoke, gaming room
  • Level 80-82: plant and damper

Jenga time

The Jenga like podium as envisaged from King Street. Image © Plus Architecture

The Podium has been designed to respond to the fine grain relationship with the King Street and Little Lonsdale Street wall. Historically, Melbourne has had a distinct connection with its use of bluestone in creating Rustica Façade designs.

The podium design for this development seeks to draw inspiration from the bluestone streetscape of King Street by reinterpreting this relationship in a contemporary way that responds to the human scale. Thus, the podium has been broken up into a Jenga like formation creating a dynamic façade that plays with scale and materiality, while also providing privacy for podium apartments.

Plus Architecture - Design response, town planning submission

The feasibility of it all

As touched upon earlier 295-309 King Street is one of many towers lining up to replace the bevy of available development sites immediately surrounding the site in question, most of which are loosely located around the King and Lonsdale intersection. 250 Spencer Street's quartet of towers between 205 and 300 metres, the at sales 605 Lonsdale Street (165 metres) plus the under construction 33 Rose Lane (170 metres) and 612 Lonsdale Street (144 metres) attest to the popularity of this patch of Melbourne's CBD at the moment.

Perhaps understanding that most sites surrounding 295-309 King Street carry prime redevelopment potential, Plus Architecture have added development feasibility scenarios for the adjoining 311 King Street. As a result 295-309 King Street is built to the northern boundary to a height near on 40 metres, providing 311 King Street with a common boundary to build against, with a tower above podium to 70 metres possible in a likely scenario. Under this feasibility scenario tower to tower distance would be 9.5 metres.

295-309 King Street, Melbourne planning team

  • Developer/Proponent: Farinia Pty Ltd
  • Planning Report: Urbis
  • Architectural Plans and Urban Context Report: Plus Architecture
  • Traffic Assessment: Cardno
  • Waste Management Advice: Leigh Design
  • Environmental Sustainable Design Statement: Cundall
  • Wind Impact Assessment: MEL Consultants
  • Acoustic Assessment: Renzo Tonin & Associates
  • Aviation Assessment: Thompson GCS


Peter Maltezos's picture

Pearl/Prima's twin!smiley

I collect, therefore I am.

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3000's picture

Interested in hearing more about this one.

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Adrian's picture

Pearl/Prima's twin!smiley

Yes !! Another great skyscraper sibling pairing to go with A108/Eureka & Aurora/EQ .. love to see it go ahead !!

Two main issues - it's smells like a flip and of course the good old City of Melbourne.

A perfect test of the new ministry's attitude to high-rise development in the CBD. No obvious breaches of the Sec.22 Urban Design planning scheme that I can see - it's just bloody tall for a small site - the pet hate of the haters (The Age, CoM, Michael Buxton etc.)

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Crz's picture

This will be a great addition to the city !! Probably one of the better one to date but the podium treatment is an absolute disgrace ! Leaves nothing much to desire

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Adrian's picture

The podium may not be the most elegant one around but it does appear to offer plenty of life facing the street with what appears to be retail and office space all the way up.

I would much rather than just a carpark covered in some blank panels or other motif - I don't mind it.

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Peter Thomas's picture

One of the more elegant buildings I have seen. I love the iridescent panels and personally really like podium. This building would go a long way toward reversing the aforementioned lack of significant architectural development in the west precinct of the City.

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