With panoramic views of Melbourne, from the northern CBD and Federation Square to Port Phillip Bay in the south, the Australia 108 building is a new urban marker for the Victorian captial. Rising a record-breaking 319 metres from the ground, the recently completed skyscraper has been crowned the southern hemisphere’s tallest residential tower, eclipsing Queensland’s Q1 Tower in Surfers Paradise.
Set back from the Yarra River in the Southbank precinct of the city, the 100-level Australia 108 building is now settling into its new home and getting acquainted with its neighbours. Including the 297-metre Eureka Tower that was completed in 2006. Located only a block away, the Eureka Tower held the title of Melbourne’s tallest structure before Australia 108 stepped it up a notch.
Australia 108: The southern hemisphere’s tallest residential tower
But the two buildings share more in common than their impressive measurements. Both skyscrapers are the brainchild of multi-disciplinary firm Fender Katsalidis, whose design language and approach to materiality is evident in each structure; from the signature use of gold and glazing to the horizontal white banding that traces the facades.
“It’s unusual for an architecture firm to design two of the city’s tallest buildings and we are proud to have done this in Melbourne,” says Craig Baudin, director of Fender Katsalidis. “We have used this as an opportunity to allow the towers to have a dialogue with each other, being partners in the skyline, while each expressing their own identities.”
Built by Multiplex, Australia 108 racked up seven years from initial design conversations through to its now fully realised, landmark status. Fender Katsalidis director Nicky Drobis is proud of the outcome, especially the way the tower interacts with the city from near and far. “While the way the tower is viewed in the skyline is important, we have also chosen to focus on the street experience and the different scales of interaction that viewers of the building might have,” she says.
The ground floor podium features a retained heritage facade, providing access to the luxurious Cloud Lobby from the street, while canary palms camouflage vehicle parking for the next 10 floors. Overt during the day, the sculptural forms that tower above become a spectacle at night through the illumination of the white bands; a glowing wireframe that shows off the building’s height, curves and contours.
An unmissable feature of Australia 108 is its gold-coloured Starburst which protrudes six metres outward from the main structure. Located about two-thirds of the way up the building, the two-level Starburst contains “unrivalled” communal amenity, where swimming pools cantilever into the clouds. “The Starburst amenities give every resident the ability to share in the amazing view, no matter where in the building their apartment might be located,” explains Craig.
But beyond its ammenities and dizzying height, the completion of Australia 108 marks an incredible milestone for Fender Katsalidis. “The design tries to redefine some of the stereotypes around how skyscrapers are expressed – from the innovative, cantilevered Starburst to the varying ways the building can be perceived,” Nicky says. “There are many aspects that make up this truly multi-faceted landmark and our aim is for its architecture to be appreciated in different ways by residents, Melburnians and future visitors to the city.”
The design tries to redefine some of the stereotypes around how skyscrapers are expressed.