Green Spine with sky-high hotel to become Australia’s tallest building

A pair of twisting towers shaped around a vertical city of green spaces, terraces and verandas will rise from Melbourne’s Southbank to become Australia’s tallest building.

The design by Dutch firm UNStudio and Melbourne-based Cox Architecture, known as Green Spine, beat off strong international competition to be chosen for the premier site on Southbank Boulevard and City Road.

Owners Beulah International invited six of the world’s most innovative architects to partner with local firms to compete on ground-breaking designs for the $2 billion development.

Contenders included ‘Urban Tree’, which incorporated a 24 floor hotel complete with a 317m high disc-shaped ‘cloud’ containing its amenities.

The winning plan divides the development into two freestanding towers; a 356m residential tower topped with a publicly accessible botanic garden, and an opposite 252m tower incorporating the hotel, as well as restaurants, bars and offices.

Conceived as a “conceptual extension of the Southbank Boulevard”, the Green Spine will provide a pedestrian connection through a series of stairs and stepped terraces, leading visitors up along the retail and entertainment precinct to The Garden.

At street level, it includes an Australian-first BMW experience centre, while a school and child care centre, library and cinema will all occupy the lower levels of the towers.

Beulah International spokesperson Adelene Teh said: “At the macro scale, the two-tower silhouettes with twisting forms provide a new, site-responsive and elegant visual beacon.

“In its details, the scheme displays a strong intent for well-considered public and private amenity, and at street level, the proposal displays qualities that will truly transform the public realm by eroding the hard edges that is prevalent in Southbank.”

The winning proposal is yet to be submitted for planning assessment, but if approved, will become Australia’s tallest building, superseding the 322m Q1 on the Gold Coast.

UNStudio’s Ben van Berkel said: “We are truly delighted that our design has been selected as the winning proposal for this very exciting project.

“We worked with a fantastic team of cultural place makers, sustainability consultants, landscape designers, artists and engineers to achieve a fully integrated design.”

Elsewhere in the city, Developer BPM has sold its proposed King Street hotel development to global investment fund InterGlobe for $91.3 million.

The site, on the corner of Flinders Lane and King Street, will be developed by BPM for InterGlobe and managed by Toga Far East (TFE) Hotels under the Quincy brand.

The tower will comprise 241 guest rooms over 30 levels and will include a cafe and rooftop bar.

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