A site long derelict, now has some kickarse direction.
Architectural plans for the derelict CUB site (middle bottom) include these from Ashton Raggatt MacDougall (left), NHArchitecture (top) and Denton Corker Marshall (right).
By Clay Lucas
July 26, 2007
A RADICAL $800 million plan for the derelict Carlton and United Breweries site will give Melbourne's civic centre a fitting counterbalance to the Shrine of Remembrance.
Developer Grocon, which last year bought the 1.6-hectare site from RMIT for $39 million, yesterday unveiled its designs for the Swanston Street site.
Five of Melbourne's most progressive architects have been selected to design a mix of offices, shops and apartments for the site, which has lain dormant since the 1980s. The brewery was demolished in 1989.
The plans released yesterday are only preliminary drawings, but are likely to closely resemble final designs for buildings that will begin rising by late 2008, Grocon chief executive Daniel Grollo said yesterday.
Grocon's previous projects include Crown Casino, the QV Centre and the Rialto.
Among the designs is a plan by leading Melbourne architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall for the site's pivotal building: a 20- storey office tower facing down Swanston Street towards the Shrine of Remembrance in St Kilda Road.
Architect Howard Raggatt said the building would be a new gateway to Melbourne, akin to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The Shrine of Remembrance was a "profoundly symbolic element" of Melbourne's city centre, Mr Raggatt said, and it was crucial a significant building at the other end of the city faced the Shrine.
"The old brewery on the CUB site told a very iconic Aussie story about Melbourne: a brewery at one end of the city, and the Anzac march and the death-and-glory material at the other," he said. "The brewery was a little bit ocker, but maybe there's now an opportunity for something more significant on this site."
Architectural firms Denton Corker Marshall, McBride Charles Ryan, Minifie Nixon and NHArchitecture will also work on the site.
The taller buildings - including Denton Corker Marshall's 50-storey tower - will be built near the city end of the site, with lower structures tapering off towards Melbourne University.
The Royal Australian Institute of Architect's Victorian president Philip Goad welcomed the plans. But he warned that the "wonderful monumental gestures" in the designs could be harmed if market forces pushed the development the wrong way. "We can only hope these great ideas do not fall victim to a speculative property play," he said.
The plans will now go to the Government, with Planning Minister Justin Madden expected to make a judgement by the end of the year.
85,000sqm of office over 50 leves - ~210m of office levels plus roughly 50m for the beacon
Going to be interesting to see everything come together.