OMA has revealed its entry for the ‘southbank by beulah’ tower competition in melbourne, whose height of 345 m and total GFA of 255,000 sqm marks it the second largest building the firm has ever designed after the CCTV headquarters in beijing. lead by managing partner david gianotten, the proposal combines cultural, commercial, educational and social program elements, bound together by more generic retail and food and beverage outlets, to compose a 24/7 mixed-use vertical city.

OMA reveals '24/7 vertical city' proposal for southbank by beulah tower in melbourne
all images courtesy of OMA

 

 

OMA‘s proposal stretches the boundaries of current policies for the design of the base, which acts as the foundation of the project and represents a 24/7 ‘urban living lab’. strategically positioned on the corner of southbank and city road, the BMW experience center is a key feature of the base, elevated above ground to fit within the concept of a permeable and public street level. a cylindrical glass car lift, clad in a dichroic, ‘iconic BMW blue’ glass façade, pierces through the ground connecting the 1400 sq.m basement storage and the mezzanine BMW experience space. serving as a kinetic vitrine exhibiting prototype cars, and inviting visitors to look up through the openings in the experience center’s hanging floor, the lift aims to be a maximum impact feature with minimum footprint. the vertical movement of cars is introduced alongside the idea of exhibiting a robotic parking facility on the other end of the base, where both concepts are meant as a commentary on the need for an avant-garde approach to the presence of cars in a dense urban environment, and on implementing technology to meet this sustainable goal. 


the base is a vertical sheltered extension of both the streetscape surrounding the building, and melbourne itself

 

 

sitting above the public portion the building, the office block comprises a variety of plates that range between 1800 sq.m and 2200 sq.m – the minimum and maximum plates given by the brief. its core is placed always on one side of the floor plates, with a footprint larger than those of the hotel and residential components. the open and flexible layout provides grand views of southbank and city road, and opens the corners of each level to two interior gardens fit with a foldable façade system. 

 
the base builds on the principle of large scale public invitation and open arcades after which a vertical wonderland of discovery awaits 

 

 

the hotel and residential segments are elevated above the densely extruded plots directly to the north, while the office plates are shielded from the neighbors by the longitudinally distributed side core. sitting just above the office block, the hotel is the first upper tower programmatic segment twisting around the core. it consists of six typical residence levels and seven suit plates, along with two amenity levels at its top and bottom, which offer a variety of wellness, food and beverage, and recreational facilities. 


the hotel’s check in area is deliberately placed amidst wellness amenities, to immerse guests in a soothing, relaxed environment upon arrival

 

 

on top of the tower, the residential part makes the most of views and daylight, with a gentle twist that not only provides the tower with an iconic and elegant silhouette, but also increases views east-west, offering views towards the port philip bay and the botanic gardens. in response to the brief, the residential component is generously supplied with amenities ranging from fine dining, private party rooms, VIP movie theater, fitness, recreation, a wellness centre, creche, gardens, and a pool at the base of the residential block. An iconic feature for the entire tower, the side cuts in the residential block reveal their spectacular double curved facades through the two glazed triangular skylights above the swimming pool and the gardens in the bottom amenity level. 


while the architecture of the tower above the base is quite rational, it is not rigid

 

 

‘the main questions for melbourne to compete towards the future: is the urban model innovative and sustainable enough? is the city prepared for a new, more individual society in which mobility and human contact is changing rapidly? is the city ready for the 24/7 economy and activity demanded by its mixed population, demanding constant flexibility and change? is melbourne ready for the demands of the 21st century city?’ OMA’s managing partner, david gianotten, points out. ‘these questions are part of the lively discussion about melbourne’s future, both in its rich local design community and the international planning discussion of model cities. it is certain that one project cannot answer those questions, but it can help lead the way to new models and can experiment with many important topics as 24/7 commercial and cultural programming; living in the heart of the city; technical, social and economic sustainability and new mobility. ‘southbank by beulah’ is ideally positioned to be such an example,’ the architect, who is one of the two directors of the recently opened OMA branch in australia, concludes. 


the proposal deploys a strategy to stretch the boundaries of current policies in the base for the benefit of the public good


the base starts as the site and tapers back to a slab 100 m above the city

 
an iconic feature for the entire tower, the side cuts in the residential block reveal their spectacular double curved facades through the two glazed triangular skylights


different program elements, clearly readable behind the façade, are distributed strategically to create large vertical movement

visual of the tower’s various sides


concept drawing

 
history of melbourne’s southbank

 

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news