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A new order: 820 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill

Box Hill continues its evolution into a high density activity centre with a fresh town planning application under assessment for a 30-storey residential tower at 820 Whitehorse Road, rising to a height of 99.78 metres.

Designed by Fender Katsalidis for Longriver Group, the proposal seeks to join a growing list of high rise residential towers in the area such as SkyOne (36-storeys / 122.8m) and Whitehorse Towers (36-storeys / 115m + 26-storeys / 83m). The site in question is currently occupied by a 3-storey office building.

Whitehorse Towers and SkyOne. Images: Peddle Thorp and Golden Age Group

What is proposed begins with a grided timber podium with an overall height of 29.5 metres, to be built to the full extent of each boundary. Level 6 forms the rooftop of the podium and is dedicated in part to residential amenities such as a 60sqm pool with associated outdoor seating and landscaping, casual and formal dining spaces, theatre, gym and sauna/steam room.

The timber pergola aesthetic of the podium was first adopted on Republic Tower and subsequently employed in some form or another on other Fender Katsalidis-designed projects such as Fulton Lane, Australia 108, Melbourne Quarter and 16-22 Claremont Street.

The tower element, in contrast, features a concrete lattice wrap which recedes in density as the tower transitions upwards, further revealing the glazed skin underneath. The intended tower has three major setbacks creating a tiered silhouette on the skyline and the illusion of an erosion of tower form and shell.

The orthogonal nature of the building form and facade articulation also displays strong similarities to the ATO building diagonally opposite and a departure from the curvilinear forms of SkyOne and Whitehorse Towers.

Being above the typical viewing cone of people passing by, the tower is conceived as more of an urban form. Whilst materiality and grain of the podium is heightened, by contrast that of the tower is reduced.

Recognising the prominence of the north western corner of the site, the building quarter in that location rises some metres higher than the other elements, thereby acknowledging that important view to Box Hill, and further articulating the skyline of the building. At the top of the building the southern elements step down to further accentuate the skyline articulation and to protect residential properties south of the building from overshadowing.

Within the broad structuring of that urban scale articulation is a filigree of smaller concrete elements wrapping themselves around the primarily glazed facade of the tower. That filigree is visually denser at the base of the tower, and becomes sparser and thinner as it climbs up the buildings. In doing so the materiality of the tower is responding to a key characteristic of the topography of this locale: the variegated skyline of the bounding ridges in Box Hill and north in Doncaster.

Those ridges can be perceived as having a visually dense base which at its skyline transforms to a lacework of leaves.

Fender Katsalidis Architectural Statement
An earlier podium iteration of 820 Whitehorse Road. Image: Longriver

820 Whitehorse Road seeks to accommodate 301 apartments comprising 45 x 1 Bedroom, 249 x 2 Bedroom and 1 x 3 Bedroom apartments, in addition to 6 duplexes providing a degree of housing diversity although it could be argued that more 3 bedroom apartments should be considered.

There are 272 car spaces in total, contained predominantly within two basement levels and throughout the 5 level podium. Vehicular access to the car park is via Fairbank Lane which also includes a number of ancillary services along its frontage. There is also provision for 92 bicycle spaces within the development.

A retail wrap in the form of a 152sqm cafe and 66sqm alfresco dining area, and a 434sqm auto showroom seeks to activate Whitehorse Road and Young Street . The remaining podium levels contain a wrap of apartments, concealing podium car parking for the most part. These podium apartments all feature outdoor balconies providing the streets with a level of passive surveillance.

820 Whitehorse Road. Planning images: Fender Katsalidis

Lodged with Whitehorse City Council during February 2016, the development team behind 820 Whitehorse Road includes:

  • Fender Katsalidis Architects: Architectural plans
  • Ratio Consultants: Traffic Impact Assessment Report
  • Urbis: Planning
  • David Lock Associates: Urban Design Statement
  • Wood and Grieve Engineers: Sustainable Management Plan
  • Leigh Design Pty Ltd: Waste Management Plan
  • MEL Consultants Pty Ltd: Wind Assessment Report
  • Development site sale transaction handled by Savills in September 2015.
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