Victoria Square is an Urban Renewal project that celebrates Foostray’s multicultural heritage buy creating a new a social, economic and residential hub on the city fringe with a focus on place making. The project will create a new place for Footscray with a new paradigm for urban living that incorporates all the lifestyle, entertainment and wellbeing amenities for a contemporary city. The fluid curvilinear geometries of the towers are a reflection of the movement from the surrounding bay and river context. Floor plates rhythmically shift around the building creating a sense of movement for the observers and offer a new reading of the tower as they traverses around the precinct.
The subject site enjoys three street frontages in a context where there are beautiful and iconic views of Melbourne in every direction. To the North the site enjoys an uninterrupted view of the city skyline, to the east vistas to the Botanical Gardens, to the south there are uninterrupted view to Albert Park Lake and to the West there are ocean views of Port Phillip Bay. This favourable contextual immediacy informed the façade and material composition. We wanted to capitalise on the surrounding views from within all spaces of the apartments by incorporating a floor to ceiling glazed facade. The glass curtain wall appropriates the reflective and ephemeral reflective qualities of a jewel that reflect the varying hues of the sky and green surrounding landscape. This intervention is reinforced by the subtle faceted glass facade geometry that produce alternating reflections as observers view the building from different vantage points. These facets also articulate the building and the perception of bulk is overcome with a vertical voided dissection of the built form to create the appearance of two smaller vertical elements, one of which being one storey taller, instead of one larger mass. The vertical void also pronounces a strong connection to the entry and highlights the sense of address for the building.
Internally the large communal spaces incorporate natural light and ventilation from the western interface and a large 5 storey void will be furnished with art work. An art gallery will also be incorporated at the south eastern ground floor to generate vibrancy and activation.
This project takes four main ideas from it’s physical and social context to create a layered outcome that responds in a positive way to the Melbourne social and cultural environments. Inspiration is drawn from the existing site and it’s current use as a popular temporary bar, the iconic lane-ways of the Melbourne CBD, the widespread graffiti art culture and of course inspiring china town area in which the site is located these four ideas are then layered together to create an interesting ground level facade approach that responds to and enhances these key Melbourne city attributes.
The 17 hectare ‘Hopkins Street Precinct’ is undergoing a major urban renewal process to make way for Melbourne’s growth and gentrification of obsolete industrial areas. The subject site is approximately 5000m² and sits within a 13,000m² master plan, which is to be staged in three separate phases. In addition, the site has the largest footprint in the overall precinct master plan. As a result of this anticipated growth, our client’s provided us with two basic principles for the brief which were to be expanded at a later stage. The first was that the proposal had to incorporate programs and facilities beyond residential inner city apartment dwellings. The second was that the first phase of the project had to exemplify design excellence with a very unique and contemporary architectural language that would create an international landmark building and form a visual gateway to the precinct. As part of formulating the brief with the client, our role was to research the demography and types of facilities and programs that would work best for this particular project. Our research data concluded that residents aged 24-38 was the target demographic for this a project. The brief also required us to design a building that would interact with the local context, engage transport facilities, and embrace views of the city, ocean and local Melbourne attractions. Our objective was to introduce typical residential programs in the suburban context and try to incorporate them into an urban tower typology. Health conscious and lifestyle orientated facilities where key priorities for the project. Our client instructed us to introduce programs and facilities that are unique to the area and would not be offered by competing projects within the precinct. Given the target age demographic and our key research findings, we concluded that we wanted to expand on the traditional typical fitness and entertainment facilities that are common to projects of this nature. The site footprint for stage 1 and 2 is roughly 100 × 100 meters which provided us with exact dimensions for an Olympic sized running track, which is incorporated along the perimeter of the stage 1 and 2 podium.
The architectural expression is divided into two categories; the podium and the tower. The podiums are expressed as a singular elements clad in vertical louvers that create a solid appearance when viewed on oblique angles, which in turn provides a strong base for the towers above. The expression of the louvers at street level create low-rise silhouette shapes that blur the between suburb and city in the Footscray area. The towers are designed as fluid planar shapes that respond to the surrounding ocean and river context. The smooth forms soften the building edges and provide a sense of movement to the towers when circulating around the precinct. In elevation the towers shift rhythmically as the mass rises to give a swaying effect that is common among all the towers and stages.
The Wills Tower is a departure from the typical extruded plan typology. Our objective for this project was to design an alternative vertical building form from a series of stacked floor plates expressed as individual volumes, as opposed to one large extruded volume with a repetition of window and balcony expressions. The result is a highly articulated rectilinear building that is expressed and narrated horizontally. The penetrations and balconies are intergraded within each volume which creates the architectural syntax.
A beautiful 1930’s Art deco building covers the entire footprint of the small site which we retained and integrated as part of our design response. The tower building is inserted within the envelope of the Deco building and sits on a series of large columns that penetrate through and beyond the existing building thereby creating a complete separation between the old and new.