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The Fahrenheit Tower? A closer look at 127-141 A'Beckett Street

Following on from Monday's article which provided an overview of Melbourne's 200 metre + residential projects, today we look at 127-141 A'Beckett Street; a project we've dubbed the Fahrenheit Tower for reasons that will soon become apparent.

The rapid transformation of Melbourne's northern CBD shows no sign of slowing down with ICD Property's proposal for A'Beckett Street one of a growing list of high-rise, high density residential projects in the precinct that are either approved or under assessment.  Located between Elizabeth Street and Queen Street, the site currently stands as a double storey warehouse with no heritage significance.  Sold off earlier this year by the Welsh Church to help raise funds, ICD Property now hopes the existing structure will make way for 632 new apartments in a landmark 63 level tower reaching a maximum height of 202 metres.

Elenberg Fraser have yet again used their architectural nouse to develop an elegant, curvaceous structure which is shown to resemble the shape of a bottle, with Dior's Fahrenheit in mind.  Consisting of three distinct segments –  low-rise, transitional and high-rise sections, the building’s floor plate subtly changes as the building increases in height from the larger low rise levels to the more slender high rise levels.  Concave over lower levels, the gradual floor plate inverts itself into a convex shape over higher levels; simple and visually stunning.

As seen above options such as dual towers or a single tower shorter in stature but with a much larger footprint were reviewed early on in the design process, though ultimately a tall, slender tower was preferred due to overall residential amenity, enhanced urban design features and microclimatic considerations. Through the slimmer, curvy design, the architects have been able to increase setbacks to neighbouring buildings to between 7.33m-10.55m over low-rise levels and between 9.06m-12.45m for the high-rise levels, although any setback considerations terminate at approximately 140 metres; height of the adjoining Argus Centre.

At ground level facing A'Beckett Street, the addition of a 4.5m setback from podium to tower helps to alleviate a canyon effect felt by pedestrians within the immediate area, while winds are minimised through the tower's curved corners which encourages air to flow horizontally around the tower, rather than drafting downwards.  127-141 A'Beckett Street's podium will reach a maximum height of 24m over seven levels, of which five of those will be dedicated to 212 resident car parks with activation to A’Beckett Street occurring through the inclusion of an apartment wrap. The remaining two levels consist of a mezzanine on the ground floor and a resident’s amenities area on level seven.  

One basement level will also be included in the development, holding the building’s 212 bicycle spaces - total separation of vehicle and bicycles.  Another interesting feature of the building will see a new retail arcade, creating a new thoroughfare between A'Beckett Street and La Trobe Street, consisting of 8 new retail tenancies for a total of 720 m².  Rounding out the tower's highlights is a LED lighting feature where multiple recessed cavities along the high-rise levels will feature strip lighting, illuminating the 4 star energy rated building at night. 

At the southern elevation, the podium will receive a ‘green wall treatment’ in order to soften the appearance due to the heritage presence of the Welsh Church as well as accounting for pedestrian sight lines from La Trobe Street. The proposed green wall will consist of externally positioned moulded plastic planters integrated through aluminium fascia panels which are consistent with the façade treatment and will extend down to ground level. Atop the podium the amenities level will include a communal recreational and health space as well as an outdoor pool and gym area.  All low-rise apartments will terminate at level 33 where further residential amenities are available, whilst high-rise apartments commence thereafter with balconies replaced by wintergardens. 

1 bedroom apartments are most common, closely followed by 2 bed/1 bath layouts; combined they account for 64% of total dwellings.  Also available are 1 bed/study, 2 bed/2 bath and 16 penthouses apartments claiming the top four floors which will feature 3 bed/2 bath layouts.   

If constructed, the tower will sit with numerous other new building within the area which include the Urbanest development at 312 La Trobe Street (which is currently using the existing 127-141 A'Beckett Street building as a display suite), Fulton Lane, MY80, Istana, Grand 8 and Vision, not to mention recent proposals including 398 Elizabeth Street and 452-472 Elizabeth Street. All going to plan the development will mark ICD Property's first foray into the Melbourne CBD property scene, having focused on apartment buildings within Melbourne’s inner ring including the ‘You and I’ project in Collingwood and ‘The Independent’ project in Hawthorn.

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Comments

MelbourneGuy's picture

Interesting design. It's good to see architects diverging from the the usual box look.

Melbourne_Fragments's picture

the double storey warehouse does have SOME heritage significance (and has a heritage grading from CoM) and could look nice with paint taken off, not necessarily enough to keep it though

Bilby's picture

Actually, Ryan, it is incorrect to say that the current site has "no heritage significance". The site is a D graded heritage building according to the Central Activities District Conservation Study - Graeme Butler, 1984. You can view the details for the site on the City of Melbourne's I-Heritage Database. There are many C and D graded sites in the city that haven't had their gradings upgraded for 30 years, and are not subject to heritage overlays. This doesn't mean that they have no heritage significance, however. Until recently, the 87 buildings protected under the C-186 amendment were also unprotected, but I seriously doubt that many people would question the heritage status of these buildings now. See the following for details: http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/BuildingandPlanning/Planning/planningsch...
Another example of a D graded, but unprotected building (due for demolition) would be the amazing old Burton Livery and Stables building at 36-40 Latrobe St. Melbourne. The City of Melbourne has just committed to reviewing the grading system, which would give 127-141 A'Beckett 'Contributory' status as an interesting intact example of one of only a few large interwar art deco style factories in the CBD. Its demolition is short-sighted given that any development could have easily retained the frontage to A'Beckett Street.

Nicholas Harrison's picture

Stunning design.

Mark Baljak's picture

in Ryan's defense, the planning application does state there is no heritage value

none the less...

Melbourne_Fragments's picture

^ The developers planning application says something they want to knock down has no heritage value, suprise suprise.. You can pay a heritage consultant to say just about anything has no heritage value

oh.yes.melbourne's picture

My first post here, I love the design, well I tend to love anything with curves. Thanks for all the information, I can't wait to read through the rest of the site.

Lover of all things fabulous and Editor of http://oh-yes-melbourne.tumblr.com

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