UNStudio and Cox Architecture have officially been announced as the winners of Melbourne’s landmark Southbank Precinct overhaul. Selected from a range of high-profile offices, including BIG, OMA, and MAD, UNStudio's vision for the $2 billion project includes a pair of twisted towers called Green Spine. As the largest single-phase project in the history of Victoria, Australia, the Green Spine is designed as a state-of-the-art, mixed-use environment centered around innovation in architecture and design.
Green Spine takes full advantage of the 6,000-square-meter BMW Southbank site. The design will contain a mix of retail, hotel, residential, commercial, cultural, and public functions developed by Melbourne property specialists Beulah International. UNStudio's design was chosen after a shortlist was revealed at a public symposium on 27 July. Green Spine consists of two towers with twisting geometries of glass facades and terracing. A residential tower soars to 356 meters, crowned by a publicly-accessible Future Botanic Garden, while a hotel and office tower reaches 252 meters. Envisioned as a conceptual extension of the Southbank Boulevard, the scheme provides a pedestrian connection at street level up to a retail and entertainment precinct. From there, the spine of the tower twists to form a series of outdoor spaces along the façade, culminating at the top of the residential tower.
"The Green Spine showed work by a strong, multidisciplinary collaborative team that is a bold, yet thoroughly considered approach to creating a context driven landmark as an addition to Melbourne's skyline," said Beulah International Executive Director Adelene Teh. "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 Southbank Tower is just the latest success in a year of big announcements from UNStudio, including plans for a cable car in Gothenburg, a Cultural Cinema City in Paris, and the establishment of a startup focusing on human-oriented smart cities. Further details of UNStudio's "Green Spine" proposal can be found on the development’s official website here.
BIG + Fender Katsalidis Architects
“The Lanescraper” features two blocks, interlocking to provide connectivity and structural rigidity, with the spaces between forming a series of laneways.
OMA + Conrad Gargett
MVRDV + Woods Bagot
“Stack” is a 359-meter-high skyscraper comprising “stacked neighborhoods connected from the bottom to the top and vice versa by lifts, stairs, and escalators to create an interconnected vertical city.”
Coop Himmelb(l)au + Architectus
“The Beulah Propeller City” is a 335-meter-high vertical city divided between four functions: public podium, office, hotel, and apartment tower.
MAD + Elenberg Fraser
“Urban Tree” features small, green foothills leading to a “mountain village” including a children’s playground, public artwork, and a water feature. The scheme’s most unique feature is “The Cloud,” a hotel public amenity space 317 meters high in the sky, offering 360-degree panoramas of Melbourne.