Corten of contention: peckvonhartel's new Fishermans Bend tower in focus

The latest prospective Fishermans Bend entrant to be unveiled comes in the form of a peckvonhartel-designed 41 storey apartment tower, with a unique corten steel sculpture worked into the design.

Successfully delivering projects for over 35 years, peckvonhartel are an established Melbourne presence although their forays into high-rise design are few and far between. Subject to their design is the former Laycock Son and Co. woollen mills, otherwise known as Laconia Woollen Mills at 179-185 Normanby Road.

Located within Montague Precinct, the 3,439sqm Laconia Woollen Mills buildings is under the control of Normanby Group Holdings Pty Ltd, who are seeking a tower positioned to the rear of the large site.

179-185 Normanby Road, Southbank application summary

Street level perspective of the intended tower. Planning image: peckvonhartel
  • Application submitted: 27/05/2016
  • Laconia Woollen Mills site area: 2,008sqm
  • Proposed 41 storey tower at 149.8 metres
  • 291 apartments: 56 x 1BR, 176 x 2BR, 59 x 3BR
  • 4003.75sqm of commercial office space & one retail space at 404.12sqm
  • 191 car parking spaces including 45 commercial spaces (existing)
  • 191 bicycle parking spaces including 32 commercial spaces and 11 commercial visitor spaces
  • 842.43sqm of communal space

Internal inclinations

Internal areas for the project see the following: one-bedroom apartments range between 50sqm-52sqm, two-bedroom apartments range between 70sqm-94sqm and three-bedroom apartments weigh in at between 84sqm-128sqm.

City of Port Phillip have noted in their preliminary report on the application that the 20% of dwellings are dedicated toward three-bedroom dwellings, which far exceeds Council's preference of at least 10% of apartments contain three bedrooms.

Conversely Council also note that no affordable or social housing is proposed as part of the application. The Fishermans Bend Strategic Framework Plan states that for developments containing 200 or more dwellings, an affordable housing component should be considered.

Landscaped external terrace atop the Laconia building. Planning image: peckvonhartel

Internally, peckvonhartel's design features multiple communal facilities which include lounge rooms over level 11, a cinema room, gym, children's playroom and an expansive rooftop area above the Laconia Woollen Mills building.

Corten of contention

Externally 179-185 Normanby Road would also see works to the public realm on Doran Street, with road narrowing and the delivery of planters, timber decking areas and timber pergolas.

Most notable is the corten steel sculpture that sits between the existing and proposed buildings, and shapes as a relief from typical Fishermans Bend proposals which see scant few sculptural features design into prospective buildings.

City of Port Phillip have raised concerns that both the sculpture and tower would overwhelm the existing Laconia Woollen Mills building which is subject to a heritage overlay. Also falling foul of City of Port Phillip officers is the proposal's lack of connection between Woodgate Street and Doran Street, inactive podium facing Doran Street and the impractical nature of the public works proposed.

In 179-185 Normanby Road's current form Council officers have recommended that Council advise the Minister that it does not support the application as proposed.


Bilby's picture

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Adam Ford's picture

If that's just a sculpture, and it's not even structurally necessary, which I'm reading between the lines a bit, it doesn't seem to be ... I'm off to peckvonhartel offices first thing tomorrow morning. Not to protest. I want to find out what they pass round the office at morning break time.

That's referencing a wool mill? Or vapour clouds?

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Peter H's picture

It reminds me of a merino's horns. As a symbol related to the wool mills it isn't a bad choice. Remember that both the sandstone pylons for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the uprights for the Bolte Bridge, are also purely aesthetic, not structural.

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Rohan Storey's picture

It's obviously a sculptural form designed to visually separate the tower from the mill building, which it's sitting on top of - so obviously this is yet another facade job, this time of a five storey industrial building. So it's a clever way if distracting attention from that fact.

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