The Southern Hemisphere’s tallest residential tower rises in Melbourne

New Mark on Melbourne

The Southern Hemisphere’s tallest residential tower rises in Melbourne

Viewed from the Yarra River, the Fender Katsalidis-designed Australia 108 tower stands near the firm's Eureka Tower in the foreground. (Photo by Peter Bennetts)

With construction of the Fender Katsalidis-designed Australia 108 tower now complete, the Southern Hemisphere has a new tallest residential building. It looms almost 1,050 feet (319 meters) over Melbourne’s Southbank area, edging out the city’s previous tallest structureFender Katsalidis’ own 975-foot (297-meter) Eureka Tower, also in Southbank.

The Q1 Tower in Gold Coast, Queensland, technically stands taller than the newest addition to Melbourne’s skyline, but the inclusion of its enormous spire in such calculations brings its roof height down to approximately 800 feet.

a tall glass tower on the riverbanks
Fender Katsalidis’s Australia 108 tower in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter Bennetts)

Initially approved by city planners in 2013 and constructed by London-based construction firm Multiplex, Australia 108 boasts blue-tinted glazing with rounded corners and horizontal white striations that echo the ribbed facade of the Eureka Tower. At its base, a ten-story car park is concealed by verdant terraces that envelop an older two-story heritage building with storefront facades.

Perhaps the building’s most striking feature is an angular, golden “starburst” that juts out from the smooth facade about two-thirds of the way up. Protruding nearly 20 feet from the glazing and intended to evoke the Commonwealth Star on the Australian flag, the design element houses common spaces and amenities for all of the tower’s residents.

Interior view of looking out toward the melbourne skyline from Australia 108
Interior view of Australia 108’s “starburst.” (Image by Willem-Dirk du Toit)

While the starburst will certainly help Australia 108 stand out from Melbourne’s more normative contemporary residential buildings, it is certainly not the first expressive design oddity to grace the city’s skyline. 

In 2015, ARM Architecture completed work on the Central Business District’s Barak Building, whose various frontages project images of colorful topographical maps and the enlarged face of William Barak, a traditional ngurungaeta (elder) of the region’s Wurundjeri-willam aboriginal nation. LAB Architecture Studio’s buildings in Federation Square, as well as studio505’s carbon-neutral Pixel building, are other visually eccentric additions to Melbourne’s architectural landscape.

There are, of course, few better ways to stand out than to tower above the rest. With 1,105 apartments distributed across 90 residential floors, Australia 108 promises to provide vast views over Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay for a selection of residents willing to pay the price.