SOUTHBANK BY BEULAH – UNSTUDIO PROJECT
Location: Melbourne, Southbank – 118 City Road
Status: Competition entry
The design proposal by UNStudio with Cox Architecture for Southbank by Beulah aims to establish a new destination for the Southbank area and Melbourne. The project is integrally organised by one Big Detail: a Green Spine of vertically networked platforms, terraces and verandas.
This multifaceted spine is created by the splitting open of the potential single mass at its core, thereby forming two separate high rise structures and causing them to reveal the almost geological strata of their core layers as they rise above a light-filled canyon. As a result of this design intervention, the towers that result on either side can enjoy porous city views and vastly improved contextual links. The orientation of the Green Spine enables an extension of the public realm on the podium, the continuation of green onto the towers and facilitates orientation to the CBD and the Botanical Garden at the top of the towers.
In addition to being fully integrated within the existing Melbourne network of cultural, entertainment, leisure and commercial venues on offer, with its variety of programmes and connectivities, the design further proposes a mixed-use building that is a city in itself. A host of programmes, including recreation, retail, offices, residential, hotel and exhibition spaces are integrated into the vertically stepped public infrastructure – an infrastructure that is formed by indoor-outdoor spatial frames that embed nature, public space and culture. On a local level the aim of the design is to provide porousness at street level, whilst simultaneously connecting the upper floors with the streetscape by expanding the public realm.
The Green Spine is an architectural element that incorporates a multitude of functions in one fluid gesture. It is designed to generate public flows and movement and offer multiple benefits throughout the design. It extends the Southbank Boulevard upwards and acts as the key organisational element of the building with respect to programme, culture, landscape and sustainability. In addition to housing a variety of amenities, all programmes are linked to the Green Spine.
At ground level, this spine directly engages with Southbank Boulevard by bringing people up and into the building, thereby expanding the public realm up and into the building. From the public park at the top of the podium, the Spine continues to entwine itself around the two towers, where it culminates at the top of the residential tower in ‘Future Gardens’.
The tower programme of UNStudio’s proposal for Southbank by Beulah is primarily made up of three main components: office, hotel and residential. From the podium rooftop garden, the Green Spine climbs upwards into a series of outdoor green spaces along the facades of the two towers. On the higher levels the Spine offers unique break-out spaces and collaboration zones for the different programme typologies.
The office spaces are designed to vary from floor to floor in order to offer flexibility of use. Here the open balconies and gardens of the spine provide meeting points for collaboration and socialising in a relaxed and natural setting. Likewise, the hotel and residential components of the tower programmes enjoy access to the private, semi-public, or public outdoor green spaces of the Spine that run from street level to the top of the towers.