17-23 Wills Street, Melbourne

By Lyn Drummond
22 June 2011 –
Relaxing in a sky park 33 storeys above Melbourne’s CBD could start a trend if award winning architect Billy Kavellaris’ urban park is built next year.

The Sky Park Tower at 17-23 Wills Street will include a park  in the top five storeys of the 113 metre high building.

Mr Kavellaris, managing director and founder of Kavellaris Urban Design told The Fifth Estate that if the design is approved construction would probably start in the first quarter of 2012.

“There are many tower typologies around Melbourne, that is to say tall buildings of this nature, however they tend to have a repetition of balconies and windows to maximise the cost efficiencies which in many cases result in poor design outcomes,” he said.

“The Sky Park Tower addresses this design issue and uses this constraint as an opportunity for innovative design.”

“We retained the existing art deco building and inserted the tower inside the skin of the building.  The two storey high restaurant separates existing building and tower.”

The tower has 72 hotel suites, one high end restaurant and 223 apartments. The park, covered in green turf, with its sides enclosed by glass and mesh, is about 310 square metres in area. It comprises a half basketball court, a gym and a barbecue area. It also includes a rock climbing wall which rises to the roof level.

Mr Kavellaris said developers views on green buildings tended to see green as a burden to the cost of the building and end price point. However there was a shift in thinking that the buildings had a more efficient running cost over time and this was  beginning to infiltrate the psychology of the developer and market place.

“In years to come I suspect we will not be discussing this issue as it will be a standard for good design,” he said.

Local developers Joseph Pak Ling Lee and Wei Cheong Chow acquired the 705 square metre Wills Street site from a subsidiary of law firm Holding Redlich last year. Fitzroys brokered the $5.675 million deal.

The current proposal retains an existing two-storey building at the base, followed by a restaurant, and a 72-room hotel. The rest of the tower is taken up by 223 residential one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments.

The Fifth Estate – green buildings and sustainable property news