Property developer Gurner has today submitted a revised scheme for its $350m project at 26-56 Queens Road in Fitzroy North.
The submission comes three months after the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne imposed height and setback restrictions, days before the developer’s scheduled VCAT hearing.
Notwithstanding the developer’s “disappointment”, Gurner has appointed Cox Architecture to take a fresh look at the site. Cox was briefed by Gurner to create a scheme which was more sympathetic to a broad set of community and stakeholder requirements.
Cox Architects Director Phil Rowe said the project “[Yields] a truly balanced new city neighbourhood which combines responsive resident amenity with generous greening and vertical, sculptural drama with apartment luxury. It is both sensitive to the wellbeing of the individual and an asset to its city surrounds.”
Under the revised scheme, the original dual-building design has been scrapped. In its place are a series of individual buildings that sit atop the heritage façade.
The revised design includes a three-level landscaped masonry podium and the original tiered terraces have been replaced with a curvilinear form. The buildings are set further back from the existing heritage façade, providing a greater opportunity for residents to interact with it.
By reducing the scale of the buildings the architects aim to increase visual permeability from all aspects - particularly from the Edinburgh Gardens and surrounding residential streets.
The proposed public plaza and amenity offering has been redesigned to allow for retail and restaurant tenancies along Queens Parade, with 450 sq m of public realm and outdoor seating.
The new scheme provides a more diverse product mix:
The architects have proposed the addition of 14 townhouses which will provide a lower-scale interface to the northern boundaries, well within the current discretionary Design Development Overlay allowances.
Landscape architect Jack Merlo has been engaged to create a landscaping scheme that adds greenery over 6181 sq m of landscaped areas that include two pools and 14 large spas, along with over 5,500 species of trees shrubs and creepers.
“We have worked closely with Jack Merlo to create a botanical environment that will create an incredible atmosphere internally and also soften all the edges for the community, with a real focus on deep planting.” Developer Tim Gurner said.
“By reducing the size of the basement we have been able to create deep planting around the entire residential edge to the north and north west, where large mature trees will be planted before completion.
“The last few months have been incredibly difficult however we have spent a significant amount of time reflecting on the commentary that was handed down from the Minister’s office and referenced in the new Design Development Overlay,” said Gurner.
“[W]e believe we have addressed the DDO and the community’s concerns and created something that is sympathetic to the area while retaining the essence of great design.
“[Working in collaboration with Cox Architecture] we have now taken a different approach to the more sensitive residential interfaces and created a set of townhouses around the parameter [sic] of the site, which more than addresses the community’s concerns about the scale of the project and the surrounding low-scale terrace homes. We are really proud of this unique design outcome and we know it will become home to a new community within North Fitzroy” he said.
Gurner has submitted final plans today.