Designed to 'Inspiire' - K1 Union Street, Melbourne

Two of Melbourne's lesser known development entities have teamed to conceive what may become one of Melbourne's most recognisable and enviable apartment buildings. Under the guidance of integrated consultancy Spiire, KMK Developments and DE atelier architects have put forward for approval a new apartment tower located at the top end of Melbourne's St Kilda Road precinct.

Defined by an exterior dotted with mature trees and hanging gardens, K1 Union Street has been tentatively named 'Palatia' according to KMK Developments' website, and justifiably so based upon planning documents which show that each apartment will be spread over an entire floor, resulting in 13 super-large penthouse dwellings.

K1 Union Street, Melbourne application summary

Hero perspective. Image courtesy KMK Developments
  • Application lodged with City of Port Phillip during January 2015
  • Current 612sqm site use: 3 level apartment block
  • Proposed 13 level apartment tower @ 38.5 metres in height
  • 13 whole floor apartments: 3 & 4 bedroom options
  • 26 vehicle spaces
  • Rooftop amenities level
  • Urban art installation featuring vertical greenery

Sky Gardens living wall

The design of the building has incorporated a vertical landscaping theme to contribute a unique and artistic element within the St Kilda Road precinct. Cantilevered planters have been positioned along the southern and western elevations that are sufficient to accommodate small-medium trees.

The lift core will incorporate a series of hanging planters that are attached to a mesh screen.

Spiire: Urban Context & planning report


Pool with a view. Image courtesy KMK Developments

All about the tension

Seen below are excerpts from the urban art and landscape statement surrounding the high-rise greenery:

The proposition for the Urban Art response associated with the Sky Homes Apartment Tower development draws on the conflict that is manifested between humans and nature in our post (modern) - industrial society. The human/nature conflict also results in the disconnection of people from nature and natural processes. This not only distances us from systems that support our very existence, but also negatively impacts our personal wellbeing.

Referenced projects within the planning documents

The Sky Gardens Living Wall is a reconciliation of the conflict between humans and nature. This dichotomy has manifested itself in literature throughout the ages. It has also set up the urban predicament we presently faced with in modern living. The Living Wall epitomises the contrast between built form and natural process by juxtaposing living systems and the building's residential infrastructure.

The periodic dance of the abseiling maintenance operatives up and down the facade of the Living Wall will be akin to performance art.

ASPECT Studios urban art statement


It has been a while since Urban Melbourne has come across a planning report with such bombastic flair… or fluff. The full Urban Art Statement conceived by ASPECT Studios makes for interesting, if not mildly amusing reading; nonetheless hats off to ASPECT for such dedication to the cause.

The building itself is an interesting design with mature trees in play over the height of the facade; always a positive addition. The design for obvious reasons is similar to Russell Street's approved Crystal Gardens tower, although there remains one difference. Whereas Crystal Gardens has its greenery positioned in a northern aspect, Palatia's intended flora faces south.

No direct sunlight, particularly for the planters, could make life interesting for the intended living wall.

Regardless K1 Union Street is the latest addition to Melbourne's super swank apartment segment which is bubbling away at the moment. From Australia 108's $25 million penthouse finding a buyer to Mirvac shopping around an $8 million abode within Yarra's Edge, demand for premium apartments remains strong.

K1 Union Street, Melbourne development team

  • Developer: Skyhomes Melbourne Pty Ltd / KMK Developments
  • Architect: DE atelier architects
  • Urban context & planning: Spiire
  • Landscape: ASPECT studios
  • Traffic: TTM Consulting
  • Sustainability: Waterman
  • Wind analysis: Windtech
  • Waste management: Leigh Design

1 comment

3000's picture

Brilliant. Bring this style to the CBD

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