MVRDV and Woods Bagot have proposed a “new kind of skyscraper” for a landmark mixed-use site in Melbourne’s Southbank. The Stack is one of six invited entries in an architectural competition organised by the site’s owners Beulah International, a Melbourne-based developer known for its commitment to excellence in local design.
Eschewing Southbank’s typical model of podium and tower – a typology that has always promised but seldom delivered – the Stack is a confident prism with a public interface on all sides.
According to Winy Maas, one of MVRDV’s founders, the Stack is a new kind of skyscraper.
“Stacked neighbourhoods are connected from the bottom to the top and vice versa by lifts, stairs and escalators – these interconnections create a true vertical city. It’s diverse, mixed, green, sustainable, human and open. The Stack is a manifesto showing that urban density is great and can contribute to our planet's survival,” Maas said.
“The single mono typology towers that have plagued Southbank in recent years don’t offer the richness that Melbourne is known for. We’ve endeavoured to unlock that, infusing public offering as an extension of the city, to dramatically enhance and future-proof high rise living,” said Maas.
Woods Bagot principal Will Hosikian described the competition as a shakeup for development in cities under increasing demand for higher density and good living.
“What makes our proposal different is how we’ve created a Melbourne-centric vertical urbanity. All of Melbourne’s great qualities and amenities are integrated through a sequence of interconnected public spaces, from the ground level all the way to its 359-metre peak,” said Hosikian.
In their proposal, MVRDV and Woods Bagot assert that as well as all the noble ambitions, the “next” skyscraper should be beautiful, if not wonderful. Maas calls the Stack “mind-blowing and elegant”.
From the edge of the Yarra River, Southbank Boulevard will be transformed into an urban promenade. A wide pedestrian area with greenery, cafes and terraces becomes the welcoming heart of the district. The new building, the Stack, is located right at the starting point of this urban promenade. Footpaths are wide so that people can walk, wait and sit on the terraces. “It becomes a nice street,” adds Maas.
From the street all the way to the seventy-sixth floor, the site will be developed as a lifestyle precinct, with apartments, offices, a hotel, entertainment centre, technological display centres, retail, cultural precinct and public green spaces.
Woods Bagot’s design leader Ivan Turcinov described the strength of the MVRDV and Woods Bagot partnership as the main factor in the innovation and design quality of the Stack.
“In another magnificent example of international collaboration, our studios have worked together with a spirit of generosity and mutual respect,” Turcinov said.
MVRDV and Woods Bagot: Lead Architect
Project: Southbank by Beulah
Location: Southbank, Melbourne, Australia
Client: Beulah International
Status: Competition entry
Value: AUD 2 billion
GFA/ Area: 265,000m2
Height: 77 levels (ground + 76 above ground)
Arup: Structures, Sustainability, Vertical Transportation, Traffic, Services, Fire Engineering, Wind, Geotechnical
Slattery: Quantity Surveyor
McGregor Coxall: Landscape Architect