Vastly experienced Singaporean developer Tong Eng Group is seeking approval for a multi-coloured high-rise residential tower in the CBD's burgeoning north end. Operating for in excess of 50 years, the firm has selected 111-125 A’Beckett Street as their first project on Australian shores.
Purchased during early 2015, the 1,725sqm site in question is subject to a 65 level residential planning application which would retain the facade of the current heritage building onsite. Designed by Elenberg Fraser, 111-125 A’Beckett Street is set to be defined by its bow-tie shape and multi-coloured exterior.
The Melbourne site also marks Tong Eng Group's first venture abroad, with the developer also citing Sydney as a likely point of expansion.
The existing B-grade listed Commonwealth Motors building facade will be retained for the most, with all bar 12 metres of the eastern aspect to remain. The demolished area will be rebuilt to match its current appearance during construction, which includes reinstating existing windows.
The podium is a key design element in the link between the street level and the vertical tower above. Taking design elements from the heritage building below, the podium attempts to articulate the strong horizontal movements and reappropriate them as balustrades, mullions and spandrels, whilst introducing a secondary vertical element through hanging greenery.
The inspiration for the design of these elements was taken from pre-war automobiles and motorbikes, linking the heritage of the heritage showroom and reimagining it as a 21st century decoration. They are imagined as metal prefabricated units which for a part of the curtain wall façade.Elenberg Fraser: Urban Context Report
Between one and three metres of the existing interiors are slated to be retained, although DELWP have encouraged the development team to increase the amount retained given the large setback the tower employs from A'Beckett Street.
With the tower's form constant, Elenberg Fraser have incorporated colour to bring a dynamism to the project's overall appearance.
The materiality of the tower is articulated as a glass façade, utilising a slightly tinted performance glazing system. The slightly tinted glass reflects the tones of the surrounding context at the various heights of the building, facilitating a subtle and elegant shift in building appearance at various levels.Elenberg Fraser: Urban Context Report
The base exterior would see a neutral/silver reflective glazing with a gradual vertical transition to a multi-coloured tinted performance glazing. An inverse outcome is applied to the tower's spandrels which would see slices of colour through the main silver facade over lower levels, eventually reverting to silver as the performance glazing takes effect over the higher levels of the tower.
The concave 'bow-tie' floorplate was deemed by the development team to be the most appropriate. Internal amenity is bolstered with sight lines capable of being diverted away from the neighbouring EQ Tower while also providing an optimal outcome when wind tested.
With no saddleback configurations, internal apartment sizes are slated to begin from 50sqm for 1 bedroom apartments, 60sqm for 2 bedroom (1 bathroom), 74sqm for 2 bedroom (2 bedroom) and 106sqm for 3 bedroom options; these figures include wintergardens or balconies.
Notes subsequent to the project's submission as seen by Urban Melbourne show that the Urban Design Unit within DELWP are generally supportive of the proposed tower. Subject to a number of design refinements and issues regarding possible tower crane penetration of the OLS ceiling, 111-125 A’Beckett Street looks to be well along the path to becoming reality.