So-called Collins Arch

It’s not often I actively dislike something but here’s one – and it’s on the Victorian chapter architects awards 2021 shortlist (!). At least the main image doesn’t disguise its awfulness. It’s just a massive thing, filling out the allowable envelope, and the serrated edges just make it extra unfriendly. It has some slight cut-outs (e.g. the very narrow ‘arch’ you can only see from straight in front) to create some public space. This is a case of developers way ahead of planning controls, dammit.

The site was once the western market, owned by the City of Melbourne, who allowed redevelopment in the 60s on a lease to National Mutual on condition that nearly half the site was open space. Then the Kennet era Commissioners sold it to them in 1994. Nobody thought to protect the open space through planning requirements, and in about 2014, the first redevelopments partly filled it with a new building. Then somebody realised they could dem the existing building, and go to town, proposing a bit of plaza in return for height, breaking the no-overshadowing the river rule – ex Mayor Robert Doyle thought that was okay, but ex Planning Minister #MatthewGuy said no, surprisingly. Then #WoodsBagot and #ShopArchitects came up with this lump, but initially with a smooth slick finish that was better than what they’ve actually built. I would say that I’d prefer the tall tower, but really I’d prefer the National Mutual was still there (and that the marble hadn’t fallen off), or at least a new tower with the same plaza. First image from #architectureau, others I’ve collected from forums and planning docs since 2014.

And then Facebook showed me this penthouse, and the residents rooftop :

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