Melbourne’s Next Tallest Skyscraper Revealed: Green Spine Southbank

This article was updated on Friday 28th February.

The winner of Beulah International’s design competition for a $2bn Southbank project goes to Green Spine, a joint effort by Dutch firm UNStudio and Melbourne-based Cox Architecture. Green Spine will overtake Queensland’s Q1 as Australia’s tallest skyscraper.

The winner has been announced after a six-month selection process by developer Beulah, and was picked from a smorgasboard of designs by highly-esteemed local and international teams.

The winning entry is called “Green Spine” for its unique twist of vertical green spaces. The development features one tall and one short tower, joined by a “spine” of vertical terraces, verandas and networked platforms.

Beulah announced the terms of the competition after purchasing the $100 million Southbank site last year, land totaling 6,061sq m. Green Spine will be a predominantly residential development, the taller tower reaching a staggering 356m in height. It will be and topped off with a botanic garden accessible by the public.

The shorter tower will reach a height of 252m, and house a hotel, commercial offices, as well as restaurants and bars.

The network of vertical gardens which make up the spine will be accessible by the building’s residents. The lower levels of the towers will support a school, child care centre, cinema and library for residents to enjoy.

Green Spine also features many treasures for passers by at street level, including a market, stepped terraces and art installations, an auditorium and a BMW experience centre– the first of its kind in Australia.

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Beulah International Executive Director Adelene Teh praised the team behind Green Spine​ for their effective, multidisciplinary collaboration. Teh complemented the bold, yet thoroughly considered, approach to the building, a soon-to-be landmark of Melbourne’s skyline.

“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,” said Teh.

Teh said the duel towers create a silhouette of twisting forms and provide an elegant visual beacon in the precinct. The development also responds to the needs of the site and surrounding area.

UNStudio co-founder and principal architect Ben van Berkel announced that his team were “truly delighted” that their design was chosen from so many incredible entries. His team of cultural place-makers, sustainability consultants, landscape designers, artists and engineers aimed for a fully integrated design for this exciting new project.

To be located on the corner of Southbank Boulevard and City Road, the winning proposal will seek approval from a planning assessment before construction for the site commences.

On Thursday 27th February 2020, Melbourne City Council planning officers gave approval for Green Spine in Southbank pending a list of conditions. The process is set to move to state government and aviation authorities.

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