Developer Beulah International has announced the winner of its hotly-contested international design competition.
Dutch firm UNStudio and Melbourne-based Cox Architecture’s proposal was selected by the jury from six shortlisted proposals, beating a 'who's who' of international and local architects.
The winning proposal comes as the result of a sixth-month search by Beulah, who paid $100 million for the 6,061sq m BMW Southbank site last year.
The winning design, dubbed “Green Spine”, is defined by a pair of twisting towers organised around a vertical city of green spaces, networked platforms, terraces and verandas.
The proposal was the only one of the six shortlisted to divide the development into two freestanding towers.
The residential tower will reach 356m and be crowned by a publicly accessible botanic garden.
Opposite will sit a shorter 252m high tower that will house commercial offices, a hotel, restaurants and bars.
The building's spine will be defined by ascending gardens accessible to the building’s tenants.
At street level, the design includes a series of stepped terraces, a market, art installations, an auditorium and an Australian-first BMW experience centre.
A school and child care centre, library and cinema will occupy the lower levels of the towers.
Beulah International Executive Director Adelene Teh said Green Spine showed work by a strong, multidisciplinary collaborative team that is a bold, yet thoroughly considered approach to creating a context-driven landmark as an addition to Melbourne's skyline.
“At the macro scale, the two-tower silhouettes with twisting forms provide a new, site responsive and elegant visual beacon in the precinct,” Teh said.
“In its details, the scheme displays a strong intent for well-considered public and private amenity, and at street level, the proposal displays qualities that will truly transform the public realm by eroding the hard edges that is prevalent in Southbank.”
“We are truly delighted that our design has been selected as the winning proposal for this very exciting project!” UNStudio co-founder and principal architect Ben van Berkel said.
“We worked with a fantastic team of cultural place makers, sustainability consultants, landscape designers, artists and engineers to achieve a fully integrated design.”
The $2 billion development will be located on the corner of Southbank Boulevard and City Road.
The winning proposal is yet to be submitted for planning assessment, but if approved, will become Australia’s tallest building, superseding Q1 on the Gold Coast, which reaches 322m.