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New plans for Northbank site

08 Sep 2016

New plans for Northbank site Image

South Wharf’s neighbouring Northbank precinct is set to be revitalised under new plans released by developer Riverlee last month.

The site’s historic Shed 5 will be restored and become a waterfront event space, while the heritage-listed crane that sits on the riverfront will also be retained and restored.

Under plans submitted to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the City of Melbourne last month, Riverlee will also develop a new 180-room luxury hotel, 250 waterfront apartments and a 3500sqm public park on the site.

The Northbank site already has planning approval for a proposal that includes the partial redevelopment of the goods shed, construction of a 13-storey office tower, retail, cafes, restaurants, an art gallery and refurbishment of the existing Seafarers Rest Park.

However, Riverlee is seeking approval to revise the existing scheme and says it wants to “adopt a more integrated mixed-use design that promotes both day and night-time activation and enhanced integration with the waterfront”.

The new plans for the site have been designed by architecture firm Fender Katsalidis and landscape architects Oculus.

Fender Katsalidis’s managing principal architect Karl Fender said the plans included restoring the historic shed into a mixed-use retail, function space and hotel lobby that spills out into the public park.

He said the plans for the site sought to integrate the heritage elements and breathe new life into them as “heroes” within the precinct’s design.

“The regeneration of Northbank is a chance to bring the precinct back to life while celebrating the shed’s rich maritime history,” Mr Fender said.

“Quite often when adding modern components to heritage sites such as this one there is a temptation to replicate the existing form, however at Northbank we really want to let the heritage elements take the lead.”

“The new building will lyrically ‘float’ about the heritage shed in a series of curvaceous, light and airy layers, in a way that’s inspired by the curves of the river and its tidal flows.”

Mr Fender said the plans also included an extruded glass pavilion at the eastern end of the shed, which would help preserve the heritage facade, while the facade would also be lit from within at night.

“The site’s heritage components are what make it so special, we wanted to represent them respectfully but in a new light.”

“We’ve created a number of places to integrate and encourage interaction with these heritage elements, such as the former slipway, which will be covered with glass inside the pavilion so people will be able to walk literally right on top of this unique piece of history,” Mr Fender said.

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