Following the high-profile Southbank by Beulah architecture competition, Melbourne, Australia, is slated to receive a major addition to its skyline. Assuming it goes ahead as planned, the aptly-named Green Spine will include the tallest building in the country, as well as the entire Southern Hemisphere.

UNStudio and local firm Cox Architecture beat major names like BIG, MAD, and MVRDV with their design for two glazed towers. Defined by an eye-catching twisting form, as well as a spine of terrace areas and balconies with integrated greenery, the towers will be joined by a public podium at ground level. This will include a marketplace, retail and entertainment spaces, and a BMW experience center (the site currently hosts a BMW dealership). There will also be extensive landscaping.

The taller of the two towers will rise to 356.2 m (1,168 ft) and host residential space. It will also sport a publicly accessible rooftop garden that's envisioned as an extension of the nearby Southbank boardwalk. The shorter tower, meanwhile, will consist of a five star hotel and commercial space, and top out at 252.2 m (827 ft).

To put their size into perspective, the taller tower won't approach the world's top 10 tallest buildings, but it's no minnow either, and will be bigger than London's 309.7 m (1,017 ft)-tall Shard.

UNStudio wasn't able to share the expected date of construction or completion for the AUD 2 billion (around US$1.47 billion) project at this stage, though we do expect more details to surface as the project moves forward.

"We are truly delighted that our design has been selected as the winning proposal for this very exciting project!" says UNStudio's Ben van Berkel. "For our proposal to be selected by Beulah – such a forward-focused developer – and from entries by such an exceptional group of our peers is a true honor. From the outset we worked with a fantastic team of cultural placemakers, sustainability consultants, landscape designers, artists and engineers to achieve a fully integrated design."

One note of caution though: the Guardian reports that there could be some planning hurdles to overcome. Indeed, this also proved the case with another recent high-profile Melbourne architecture project, Foster + Partners' Apple Store, which ended up undergoing a complete redesign.

View gallery - 5 images