Hayball Designed Development Attempts To Settle South Melbourne Island


The City of Port Phillip received a development application from Holder East for a mixed-use development that had been uniquely designed for an urban ‘island’.

Designed by Hayball, the proposal for 1-13 Cobden Street, South Melbourne currently seeks approval for a 19 storey tower building with 1,473 square metres for retail purposes, 249 apartments and three levels of basement car parking.

Specifically, Hayball intends to give 1-13 Cobden Street 1,032 square metres of retail floor space on the ground floor and 441 square metres of retail floor space on the mezzanine level. The building’s 249 residential dwellings will span levels 1-18 and range from:

  • 89 one bedroom apartments
  • 142 two bedroom apartments, and
  • 18 three bedroom apartments


1-13 Cobden Street is located in South Melbourne, approximately 2.6 kilometres south of Melbourne’s Central Business District. The site is positioned 350m from the Domain Interchange, linking it to 8 different tram routes including Kew via St Kilda Beach, East Malvern, Glen Iris, East Brighton, Carnegie and Camberwell.

Aside from the proximity to tram travel, Cobden is also gifted with access to Melbourne’s inner-city lifestyle. It is walking distance to Albert Park, The Royal Botanic Gardens and other neighbouring outdoor sporting precincts and running tracks. There is a vibrant local cafe and coffee culture and numerous fine dining restaurants and wine bars. The South Melbourne Market and a range of local boutique homewares and clothing stores are also a short trip away, and the art and cultural precinct is only a walk away. The CBD itself is only three kilometres away and South Melbourne beach is even less.


Where does the ‘island’ concept come from?
The site of 1-13 Cobden Street is surrounded by the four roads: Kings Place to the north, Palmerston Crescent to the East, Kings Way to the south and Cobden Street to the west. There are no side or rear boundaries, so Hayball decided to fully embrace the idea, feeding the building’s design with the inspiration of an an ‘island’ concept.

“The building presents a curved form with clear podium and tower elements incorporating a range of high quality materials and finishes to respond to the urban context,” Hayball said in their proposal.

“Sitting on what is an island site, with street frontages to all boundaries, the subject site presents a rare opportunity to truly design a building ‘in the round’.


 “The proposed built form is first sculpted in plan, with a pinching in of the mid sections, whilst the corners are pulled out to hold each of the four street corners. These two moves at the same time serve to ensure that apartment modules are of appropriate depth, whilst maximising opportunity for apartment frontage and capitalising on opportunities for sunlight, daylight and views.

“Drawing inspiration from natural eroded landscape forms, the green glass façade is then sculpted in elevation to reveal opportunities for balconies, and break down the mass of the building.”

The proposal said the building would be primarily glazed, with building materials like aluminium, powdercoated fins and coloured vision glass would add interest to the design and would also help to reduce the site's mass.

"The design of the proposed building presents as an unusual and elegant design, with curved facades and a strong presentation to Kings Way."Should the application receive approval from council, the site will need to undergo demolition as it is already occupied by one and two storey commercial building, zoned for mixed use.
A growing South Melbourne
Urbis, who helped prepare a planning report for the development application, said Melbourne is undergoing unprecedented population growth and expansion.

“The St Kilda Road Precinct is included within Melbourne’s Central Region under Plan Melbourne, and the city core now extends beyond the Hoddle Grid to include St Kilda Road and part of Kings Way,” they said in their report.

“The Central Region is expected to accommodate significant employment and residential growth, and some of this growth will be directed to St Kilda Road North precinct.”

Urbis believed that that the City of Port Phillip must play a more significant role in the provision of new housing due to its location in relation to Melbourne’s CBD and associated employment opportunities.

1-13 Cobden Street was then identified in the report to be a possible development that could rise up and meet the growing intensification of the area. Final approval is yet to be confirmed, but the developers are confident that the Cobden Street site will be an easy win for Melbourne its urban needs.


Images courtesy Hayball; Development application to City of Port Phillip.

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