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Designing a sky-high tower for a low-rise suburb

Designing a sky-high tower for a low-rise suburb


Above: DKO director Jesse Linardi, photographer Hilary Walker.

Developed by the Golden Age Group and designed by DKO Architecture, Sky One is set to be a 35-storey structure – Melbourne’s tallest residential tower – situated in the suburb of Box Hill. The same height above sea level as the Eureka Tower, Sky One is a giant sculptural piece of architecture formed from glass and metal.

Designing such a sizeable tower in a suburb currently dominated by low-rise buildings is no easy feat. Sky One is at once tasked with the responsibility of not overpowering the suburb, while standing out as a precursor to the gradual morphing of Box Hill into a “second city within Melbourne.”

Neither architect nor developer on this project is stranger to high-rise developments. Golden Age Group were behind the 32-storey tower at 27 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, while DKO has designed multiple high-rises both nationally and abroad.

“Sky One will be seen from great distances because it is surrounded by low rise buildings and sits on the peak of Box Hill’s central hill, giving it a unique vantage point. Our design was based on Feng Shui principles which ensured we optimised light and the stunning views to the north and east as well as the panorama of the CBD to the southwest,” DKO director Jesse Linardi said. ADR spoke to Linardi about the controversial project.

What were the key points of inspiration behind the design of Sky One?
Our desire was for a sculptural approach to the architecture. We looked to provide singular architectural language to the overall building shape, one that is both sinuous and sculptural, almost jewel like. Within this sculptural approach we looked for an outcome that is not fashionable,  but rather sophisticated, considered and elegant. It was important for us to also provide a building that would become part of the community and provide a positive contribution to it.

What were the biggest challenges you met in designing a building so large?
Maintaining a sculptural and visually sophisticated building within such a large envelope, as well as maintaining a relationship to the street, context, and the human scale.

Did you find it challenging to design a high-rise in a suburb largely populated by low-rise buildings? What considerations had to go into the design that you wouldn’t encounter when designing for a CBD location?
Offsite amenity impact such as overshadowing and visual bulk become more challenging in a context of lower built form. So, more rigorous testing and crafting of the building envelope is required to ensure these considerations are implemented.

One also must consider that the building is essentially a three-dimensional landmark that will be viewed from near and seen from a far, so testing this is critical.

How do you feel about high-rises spreading beyond the boundaries of the CBD to our outer suburbs, and Box Hill becoming a “second city within Melbourne”?
It seems a logical approach to the demands of increasing density. The keys for increased density is public transport, local amenity, schools, hospitals, parks and employment opportunities, so communities and locations such as Box Hill are perfect, as they provide all of amenities for increased density.

Can you talk us through the façade and its make up?
A finely detailed tinted glass and metal façade is designed to accentuate the architectural form and maximise the vast daylight and view opportunities the site has to offer. To compliment the sculptural form of the tower, the podium element has been lined with fluted glass with highlighted bronze metal accents to further add visual interest and accentuate the activation toward the street.

And finally, what is your favourite element of Sky One’s design?
The client’s brief was to provide a world class residential community. This is facilitated by maximising amenity for the residents by providing access to views, daylight, generous outdoor spaces, communal amenity and a multitude of recreational experiences. There are fantastic retail and food experiences in the podium and amazing communal facilities to the podium including gyms and pools – so we are most proud of providing a high quality living experience for the community to reside in.



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