This is good, actually; a tower without facadism

First posted instagram January 24, 2020 

This about as good as it gets ! The existing building is rather plain for 1891 when it was built as the HQ and workshop for ubiquitous #stainedglass manufacturers #FergusonAndUrie (though they soon lost most of their business with the 1890s crash and sold it in 1899). Its pretty intact, and almost got facaded for a 57 storey tower – long story how that didn’t happen, see next/previous post, now it’s 25 storeys, and mixed use too, offices in the bottom half – but best of all it keeps most of the 1891 building ! Cast iron frame, timber floors and all ! Just knocks off a couple of metres off the back, leaving 12m deep. I do think it could be a little less looming, that step forward doesn’t help, but by golly this is so much better than everything else the last 15 years. And the not quite yet approved CBD guidelines would mandate this end result, that the ‘front or principle portion’ of the building should be kept, but which also shouldn’t be cantilevered over, so it wouldn’t have that step, probably.

You might not like this but it’s actually lower than it could be !! Quite surprised to work that out. Long story, and still not sure why, but we should be happy I guess. This site was part of the very messy planning for the Market area that for a long time had very low height limits but only Discretionary, and completely ignored south of Franklin St by 2015 when the first taller version of this proposed, and the height limits reviewed so council could put a tower on Therry St; big setbacks but no upper limit which was not accepted, instead everything except the Therry/ Queen corner now the same controls as the rest of the CBD. Which in turn changed a bit, final form has 5m setbacks all sides except one side or rear can be zero as long as not closer than 10m to another towers windows, and a plot ratio that starts at 18:1 and goes up with bonuses, including provisions of offices, which this has. So that would allow at least a 35 storey building with the 10m street setback, but they went for 14:1 and 22 storeys, which is not the maximum ! But it’s just under the 80m so it’s neater. But so surprised that it’s not the max – anyone tell me I’ve missed something? @andy_fergus ?

Oct 2021:

Now there’s a 41 floor proposal (the third for this site) that actually keeps a lot more that the facade ! 12m depth, only knocking off the last 4m, and keeping the original internal structure of cast iron columns and beams, and the timber floors too ! A lot more than ‘the front or principle part’ now required. The first proposal in 2016 was for a 57 storey tower that kept only the facade, then one in 2018, much shorter, but kept the front 12m, with a bit of overhang. This one no overhang, but bigger tower in a bigger site. The main drawback is now it goes up to blender lane, which they’re proposing to widen, to line it with cafes of course, so that’s the end of it as a graffiti Mecca – even if they didn’t widen it, and had maybe courtyards or a second lane, there’s going to be people there a lot more, making it harder to paint. Which might happen even without this, since there’s a going to be an arcade through the tower going up to the north, as well as cafes and retail on the connected laneways.

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