A Fresh Take on The West End Towers

A breath of fresh air is sweeping through the West End Towers. The city has given the nod to two residential towers, each featuring three concave facades enveloped in ‘green’ exoskeletons, for a site adjacent to Davies Park at 281-297 Montague Road.

This new development replaces a previous scheme, which was approved in 2017. The original plan, described as “five stumpy towers” of up to 12 storeys, has been reimagined by Manley Properties, a subsidiary of Sydney-based developer Henroth Group. The revised proposal aims to create an “exemplar response to key urban design” and enhance community benefit.

The new design by Noel Robinson Architects reduces the initially planned 470-apartment development to two towers of 16 and 19 storeys, housing 345 apartments. This revision allows the site to offer a vastly improved public realm, enhanced visual amenity, and better connectivity for West End residents.

Despite significant community opposition to both proposals, primarily concerning the buildings’ height and additional traffic, principal architect Noel Robinson believes the original vision would have resulted in “a terrible outcome”. The new plans open up 77% of the site’s ground plane as public space, a 73% increase from the previous approval.

Photo Credit: Development.i / Application no. A005608649

The proposed public plaza and park lands provide a sky view from Montague Road and Vulture Street, offering shade and relief from summer heat for various recreational activities. The revised plans will deliver two 5-star Green Star rated residential buildings, both with unique landscaped exoskeletal sunshades wrapping their concave facades.

View from Vulture Street
Photo Credit: Development.i / Application no. A005608649

Robinson stated that the revised tower designs “open up a new paradigm in terms of a green building”. The buildings feature green atria throughout, replacing traditional corridors. Biophilia filters at the ends of the open landscaped corridors provide vertical greenery up the facades, acting as fresh air filters to the open upper-level apartment walkways.

South Tower – East Wing Elevation
Photo Credit: Development.i / Application no. A005608649

While Robinson stopped short of claiming these would be the greenest buildings in Brisbane, he did assert they would be unique and among the city’s greenest. The development’s north tower will comprise 156 apartments, and its south tower will house 189 apartments, each including a mix of one, two, three bedrooms, and a level of four-bedroom penthouse suites.

The residents of both towers will have access to a variety of amenities. Landscaped rooftop recreation decks will feature ‘wet edge’ swimming pools, communal gardens, edible landscapes, beehives, barbecue facilities, gyms, and both indoor and outdoor dining areas.

An alfresco terrace on the first level of each building has been designed as an outdoor study and work area. It will feature enclosed glass pods, providing residents with private spaces for podcasts or online meetings.

The development also takes into account the need for parking, with two basement levels providing 482 spaces. This is a reduction of 117 spaces from the previous approval, aligning with the overall design rethink.

On the ground level, a retail plaza spanning 1626 square meters will be a key feature. In line with the design’s focus on public space, 8130 square meters of public realm will connect Montague Road to the centre of Davies Park. This connection is a crucial element of the overall design rethink, further enhancing the community-centric approach of the development.

Published 08-February-2024