Architecture

Australia's tallest skyscraper will have a green twist

Australia's tallest skyscraper...
Melbourne's Southbank by Beulah project is designed by Netherlands-based UNStudio and local firm Cox Architecture
Melbourne's Southbank by Beulah project is designed by Netherlands-based UNStudio and local firm Cox Architecture
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Melbourne's Southbank by Beulah project is designed by Netherlands-based UNStudio and local firm Cox Architecture
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Melbourne's Southbank by Beulah project is designed by Netherlands-based UNStudio and local firm Cox Architecture
Southbank by Beulah will integrate significant greenery on its twisting facades, including rooftop gardens
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Southbank by Beulah will integrate significant greenery on its twisting facades, including rooftop gardens
Southbank by Beulah is due to begin construction in 2021, with completion expected in 2026
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Southbank by Beulah is due to begin construction in 2021, with completion expected in 2026
Southbank by Beulah's taller skyscraper will reach a height of 365 m (1,197 ft), while the smaller will be 252.2 m (827 ft)
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Southbank by Beulah's taller skyscraper will reach a height of 365 m (1,197 ft), while the smaller will be 252.2 m (827 ft)
Southbank by Beulah will include apartments, office space, public green spaces, a rooftop sky garden, town hall, wellness precinct, retail space, and more
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Southbank by Beulah will include apartments, office space, public green spaces, a rooftop sky garden, town hall, wellness precinct, retail space, and more
Southbank by Beulah will be located on a waterfront site in Melbourne that's currently occupied by a BMW dealership
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Southbank by Beulah will be located on a waterfront site in Melbourne that's currently occupied by a BMW dealership
View gallery - 6 images

With its impressive height and ambitious twisting, greenery-covered design, you could be forgiven for assuming Southbank by Beulah was destined to remain on the drawing board. The supertall skyscraper has now received planning permission, however, and is due to begin construction in Melbourne next year.

Southbank by Beulah (aka Green Spine) is designed by Netherlands-based UNStudio and local firm Cox Architecture, and was originally unveiled as part of an architecture competition in 2018 before being declared the winner.

The development will be located on a waterfront site currently occupied by a BMW dealership and be centered around two skyscrapers: one will reach a height of 365 m (1,197 ft), making it Australia's tallest tower, and the other will top out at 252.2 m (827 ft). While the taller of the pair beats London's 309.7-m (1,017 ft) Shard for height, it's shorter than New York City's 381-m (1,250-ft) Empire State Building, for example, so is a bonafide supertall skyscraper, but would only be rated somewhere around 50th place in CTBUH's official rankings.

Southbank by Beulah will be located on a waterfront site in Melbourne that's currently occupied by a BMW dealership
Southbank by Beulah will be located on a waterfront site in Melbourne that's currently occupied by a BMW dealership

The project's total floorspace of 270,000 sq m (roughly 2.9 million sq ft) will be divided between apartments with greenery-covered balconies, office space, public green space, rooftop gardens, a town hall, retail space, and more. The towers themselves will be defined by an attractive twisting design and incorporate a "spine" of greenery running up the facades.

"The spine twists into a series of outdoor spaces and green devices along the facades of the two towers, paying homage to Melbourne's title of 'The Garden City,' symbolically bridging the iconic Royal Botanic Gardens with Melbourne’s Arts Precinct," says UNStudio. "Pocket parks will be a focal point throughout the building, connecting neighborhoods within the residential tower, providing residents with a sense of community and a place to relax, before culminating in a landscaped journey to the publicly accessible rooftop sky garden."

Southbank by Beulah will include apartments, office space, public green spaces, a rooftop sky garden, town hall, wellness precinct, retail space, and more
Southbank by Beulah will include apartments, office space, public green spaces, a rooftop sky garden, town hall, wellness precinct, retail space, and more

The Southbank by Beulah project has a budget of AUD 2 billion (around US$1.3 billion) and is expected to be completed in 2026.

Source: UNStudio

View gallery - 6 images
2 comments
christopher
The probably need the housing market to not collapse before banks will loan them the money for that... so dream on...
buzzclick
I'm having this morbid thought of someone falling from the upper balconies, and bouncing off successive ledges till they reach ground level. Ouch. But this could happen with one of those large potted plants as well. Now who provides all these plants? The tenants or the owners? Will they match the idyllic renderings provided for us here? Has anyone considered the practicality of having balconies at such heights and how wind loads will be tolerable or even hazardous? The tan color of the undulating facade is one you don't usually see in skyscrapers. I'm not sure it will age well. Five years to build? Is that because of the unusual design? Maybe the Chinese could do it in two? In any case, I strongly urge the city of Melbourne to not construct these questionable buildings because they'll be there for years. These "green wall" concepts are preoccupied with cosmetics and may be difficult to maintain consistently and not be practical. It's just a visual feel-good thing for people who haven't learned what really counts when it comes to being environmentally friendly.