Would you live in a building with a sky bridge, respect for the environment and a swimming pool 25 meters high? Discover Melbourne’s Collins Arch.
Can architecture influence the materialization of a practical environmentalism? Well, yes, rather, it should influence. Architecture is the tool we need to create cities that are kinder to the natural environment. Efforts must be focused on distinguishing both worlds, reinforcing their links, but balancing their forces, because neither will disappear and in the future both will depend on each other.
It is absurd to believe that cities like New York, Madrid, London or Beijing will disappear covered by green roofs, or that their air will turn limpid and ethereal from one day to the next. Reality teaches us that specific interventions, if carried out judiciously, will generate a greener future in cities. This week we bring you a mixed-use building that stands as an environmental icon in Melbourne, Australia.
Collins Arch, Australia’s Mixed Building
The building is called Collins Arch, and it claims to be Australia’s first truly mixed-use building, but why brag about it? The building reaches 42 stories high, and is divided into two 164-meter towers, joined at the highest part by a spectacular air bridge. Given its shape, its position within the city and its aesthetics, it has all the ballots so that the term icon fits like a glove.
The complex is located at 447 Collins Street, on a 6,000 square meter plot, and with a constructed area of 162,500 square meters. Inside we find luxury residences, a five-star hotel, offices, shops, restaurants and, what really makes it a mixed-use area: a public park and a stepped amphitheater.
A spectacular construction of 788 million euros
If you’re wondering, the cost of the operation, led by the promoter Cbus Property, reached 1,250 million Australian dollars, equivalent to 788 million euros. The responsibility that was placed on the architecture studios was not little, the main designer Shop Architects and the partner in the field Woods Bagot sure were very motivated to execute a happy job.
This impressive project ended in 2020 and was born from an international competition. The winners created two buildings joined at the top and bottom, in which the first 15 floors of the East Tower belong to the W Melbourne Hotel. This hotel has 294 rooms, bars, restaurants, gym and swimming pool. A luxury service whose prices range from 210 to 5,000 euros per night, in August.
The rest of the tower is made up of 184 luxury residences, while the other 49,000 square meters of the adjoining tower are offices. Some of the largest companies in the country have landed in them, and the fact is that the West Tower is the one for business.
The towers have luxury residences, offices and green terraces
The towers have been designed with small overhangs on one side, and sloping facades on the other facing the Yarra River. A different design that has allowed the construction of terraces at the angles capable of accommodating green roofs, and facilitating habitability in the residences, since its shape prevents the projection of shadows on the river, providing sunlight to the interior of buildings. The floor-to-ceiling glass that has been placed in each of the houses also contributes to this.
The complex’s residences have from one to four rooms, the most exclusive being those located at the top of the building. Some of the most exclusive are the two 330 square meter penthouses that the developers hope to sell for 8.5 million Australian dollars, about 5.40 million euros. The best views have the highest prices, that has been the case since the world began.
Pool at 25 meters high and an eco park on the surface
A spectacular 25-meter swimming pool awaits on the 14-meter-wide, eight-story-high skybridge, crowned with a Sky Garden for residents and users only. At the bottom, a podium that encompasses the two towers allows access to all users of the different parts: workers, residents, visitors and the public of the shopping center.
And on the banks of the podium, we find 1,900 square meters of open public space, a park that they have called Market Street Park and which is bordered by a stepped amphitheater. The park was designed by landscape studio Oculus, which has had the honor of creating Melbourne’s first park in 40 years. A park that is also Eco, as it incorporates rainwater reused as irrigation.
Collins Arch seeks the 5 stars of sustainability
The Collins Arch intends to win the 5-star Greenstar award, achieving Australian Excellence for sustainability, although to do so it must meet five points:
- Reduce the impact of climate change.
- Improve the health, quality of life of the inhabitants and the sustainability of the built environment.
- Restore and protect the planet’s biodiversity and ecosystems.
- Ensuring optimal continuous operational performance of buildings.
- Contribute to market transformation and a sustainable economy.
If this building doesn’t do it, I don’t know which one will. Before finishing, it is fair to name an essential company in this process: Multiplex. This was the main contractor that carried out the lifting of the complex. We must always recognize the companies in the sector that, many times, are essential artists of success.
*Photos courtesy of Trevor Mein