Melbourne Square, Australia


Melbourne Square, Australia

Dynamic lifestyle space in Melbourne’s arts and cultural precinct

  • Scope: Residential apartments, 5-star hotel, observation decks, leisure facilities, shopping and commercial
  • Aurecon services: Mechanical, electrical, hydraulics engineering, fire protection and engineering, facade design, environmentally sustainable design, acoustics, vertical transportation, pool stability design, information communications technology (ICT)
  • Client: OSK Property
  • Project team: Cox Architecture; Multiplex (contractor)

Aurecon is engineering an engaging, dynamic lifestyle space within Melbourne’s arts and cultural precinct.

With striking, angled facades, the towers of Melbourne Square will be an iconic symbol, instantly recognisable on the Melbourne skyline. In the city’s Southbank precinct, Melbourne Square will feature six towers ranging in height from 38 to 73 levels. Bold architectural forms, green parklands and active public realms will define this engaging precinct.

The first two towers are complete, comprising of commercial spaces, residential apartments and a 5-star hotel with rooftop restaurant.

To ensure engineering success, the developers, OSK Property, appointed global engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon to engineer the first four tall buildings and surrounding public spaces.

As a leading consultant in designing tall buildings, Aurecon is providing mechanical, electrical and hydraulics, fire protection and fire engineering, facade design, environmentally sustainable design, acoustics, vertical transportation, pool, audio visual and information communications technology.

Construction system design

For a tall building, construction methodology and sequencing are essential for financial viability. The right construction method is a balance of structural integrity, cost-efficiency, buildability, and construction time.

Aurecon is working closely with the contractor to design the optimal structural methodology for each tower, using its deep-rooted understanding of tall buildings. Temporary plantrooms are strategically designed and located throughout the towers to enable a staged handover of lower floors while the upper part of the towers continue in construction.

Analysing the towers for wind and seismic loading

Tall buildings are complex, so their design always requires higher levels of engineering consultation. Aurecon examined the pressure in the hydraulic and fire pipe network from the pressure build-up due to the height of the Melbourne Square towers.

A particularly important task was the podium-level swimming pool spanning in between the podium of two towers. This required an in-depth level of engineering coordination and detailing between the building services, pool stability and structural engineering disciplines.

In addition, Aurecon’s mechanical, hydraulics and facade teams worked closely together to engineer the accommodation of a gas fireplace to be located within the common residential amenities area on level 54 of the first tower. Bringing its experience and knowledge from other tall buildings, Aurecon is collaboratively working with the architect and contractor to investigate emerging systems and technologies in responding to the above challenges.

The team analysed the performance of the towers under wind and seismic activity. The aim was to enhance building performance by fully understanding lateral vibration, and ensure tenant comfort by meeting Australian and international design standards and guidelines.

Aurecon’s engineering design team spent considerable time understanding the predicted wind loadings. Close attention was paid to the angled facade and mid-tier residential amenities. While these features give the buildings their spectacular appearance and attraction, it also means there are more wind and seismic engineering considerations.

Ensuring the design can absorb those stronger forces required careful engineering. An over-engineered structure has unnecessarily high building material and construction costs, while an under-engineered one adversely affects tenant comfort and structural integrity.

High-performance MEP system

Aurecon is designing the mechanical, electrical and hydraulics (MEP) system for the first four towers and surrounding green spaces. Delivering MEP design comes with its own challenges; access and maintainability of plant equipment, careful planning of MEP services around the structural core and extensive interdisciplinary coordination to maximise ceiling height.

As the development is mixed-use, design work for the MEP services will meet the strictest Australian design standards required for hotels, flexible retail spaces and customised residential apartments.

To meet the tight project timelines, Aurecon is designing concurrently across multiple engineering streams so that multiple teams will be able to work on the project at the same time. Constant interface reviews are undertaken by subject matter experts to ensure consistency and compatibility between the engineering streams.

Providing a community hub

Designed as a vibrant and diverse community precinct, Melbourne Square promotes social engagement by residents, workers, passers-by and visitors.

The landscape will offer experiences at every scale with almost 20 per cent, or 6 000m2, of the site dedicated to public space, primarily as open green space, but also incorporating essential amenities such as a supermarket, retail spaces, hotel, commercial offices and a childcare facility.

Aurecon is proud to be contributing its multidisciplinary engineering and design services to this landmark urban destination that reflects the fine design and liveability for which Melbourne is renowned.

The project won the Residential High-rise Architecture Australia Award and the Mixed-use Development Award Australia at the International Property Awards.

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