Featuring cascading water features, European inspired piazzas and a buzzing outdoor terrace, Southbank’s new public green heart was unveiled by OSK Property at urban precinct Melbourne Square.
The large public park will span more than 3,700 square metres, taking up 20 per cent of the mixed-use development, and will be one of the first aspects of the project to be delivered.
The park is expected to offer some regeneration to the heavily populated Southbank area, especially when it teams up with Melbourne Square's six towers consisting of four luxury apartment buildings, a commercial tower, a hotel, supermarket and health and childcare facilities.
Melbourne Square is a ten minute walk from Melbourne’s buzzing CBD and set within a network of green space connected to views across the Docklands, Port Philip Bay, CBD, Royal Botanic Gardens, arts precinct and the entertainment precinct.
OSK Property have enlisted the help of landscape architects Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) to create the park. TCL is best known for their work at Birrarung Marr, the Australian Garden in Cranbourne, Sidney Myer Music Bowl and the National Arboretum in Canberra.
The park will go on to add to the area’s transformation along with the City of Melbourne’s commitment to create a new parkland development for Southbank Boulevard. Once complete, the park will not just be left as empty green space - plans are set to have the park actively programmed to host events for Southbank residents such as markets and cultural activities.
Creating valuable public amenity is a sentiment reinforced at yesterdays Brisbane Development Association breakfast by University of Melbourne Professor, Dr Catherin Bull who put strong emphasis on spaces like Melbourne Square's park, under the belief that cities would not be worth a great deal without them.
"Streets, plazas, squares and parks are the glue that keeps the individual properties in the city together and enable it to operate as a system, physically and what is often forgotten, socially," she said.
In relation to Brisbane's public amenity she added;"To compete with the likes of Melbourne and 'do density well', in Brisbane there needs to be appropriate and significant levels of public investment into the public domain where high levels of private development occurs"TCL Managing Director Perry Lethlean said the park would give Southbank a new green heart and activate the suburb.
“Melbourne Square’s dynamic public realm will be a centerpiece for Southbank, one that can be actively programmed for events, or enjoyed at leisure,” he said.
“The park is part of a network of gardens inspired by Melbourne’s iconic Royal Botanic Gardens and qualities from other cities such as Paris, Berlin and Spain.”
“As this is such an urban environment, we have created vistas and seating nestled among the greenery. Generous promenades and plazas encourage the Italian tradition of promenading – taking an evening walk with family and friends. It’s about creating opportunities for residents of Melbourne Square and other buildings in Southbank to engage with nature.”
Located over a gently rising slope, which provides an amphitheatre feel, visitors are welcomed at the base street level by an elegant display of flora bursting with colour and texture that takes inspiration from around the world. A water feature, cascading down the pathway leads visitors up to the café terrace providing a breathtaking gateway to the development.
Climbing the water-lined steps, that create a reflective strip of natural light that dances off different textured stones, visitors will be surrounded by large, sloping lawns.
The stairs connect to an elevated terrace with views to the sculpted lawns and gardens. The terrace encompasses a wealth of retail and alfresco dining, overlooking an abundance of exquisite flora.
According to the developer, the eye is then drawn from the terrace to a tree lined boulevard inspired by those seen so frequently in Paris and Florence such as the Champs-Élysées and Viali di Circonvallazione.
Pocket piazzas edged by verdant gardens can be activated by food trucks and market stalls, encouraging the growth of a social hub.
Apartment residents of the vertical village will benefit from their own private garden haven located on level eight, overlooking the public park. Here, a huge 48-metre leisure pool incorporating a 25-metre lap swimming zone, infinity edges, water features and a play pool, joins barbecue pods, outdoor lounging zones, a yoga lawn, gymnasium and theatre in the generous line up of wellness and entertainment facilities available to apartment residents.
OSK Property Executive Chairman Tan Sri Ong Leong Huat said Melbourne Square aimed to offer a leisure experience yet to be produced in Southbank.
“The intention is to create a vertical community with opportunities to come together and connect through nature, leisure and retail,” he said.
“We believe this public realm will draw people from all over Southbank, and also provide an important linkage from the CBD through the arts precinct to the Botanic Gardens.”
OSK Property’s confidence in the project is underpinned by a joint venture with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which has purchased a 49 per cent stake in the project. It also has partnerships with Australia’s leading construction practices, including Multiplex, which has been engaged to provide early contractor input and Carr Design to produce the stage one apartment interiors.
Melbourne Square will commence sales of its first stage, to comprise two apartment buildings and the parkland and retail in mid 2017. Designed by Cox Architecture, it will remake a former carpark bounded by the Westgate Freeway and Kavanagh, Balston and Power Streets into Melbourne’s largest mixed-use development comprising residential, hotel, commercial and retail.