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Super-skinny triangular tower proposed as Melbourne’s tallest skyscraper

Australian firm DeciBel Architecture has unveiled a design for a Melbourne skyscraper which, when completed, could become the tallest of its kind in the city.

The super-skinny Magic tower, which rises 330 metres from a triangular plot the size of a tennis court, would outstrip the Eureka tower, which stands 297.3 metres in height. Its design has been submitted and, if approved, could be constructed as soon as 2022.

According to Dylan Brady, founder of DeciBel Architecture, the shape of the tower would send its slenderness ratio “off the charts.” He said that the current skinniest tower is in New York City, which also appears to have a monopoly on slender buildings: Rafael Viñoly Architects built a 425-metre slender tower in downtown Manhattan while Meganom is planning to build a 305-metre residential building.

To go as tall as possible while fitting the dimensions of the narrow site, DeciBel Architecture included several rotations to the design of the Magic tower. Mr. Brady explained that skyscrapers need their centre of rotation to be as close to their centre mass as possible, and the triangular shape of the tower called for a significant amount of innovation and tuning.

He pointed out that wind is the leading consideration for any tall building, so the Magic tower has a series of open floors to allow wind to perforate and plants to grow. To detach laminar flows, the tower’s western end has been stepped while the eastern end has been tapered to reduce load along the edge. A new and innovative type of mass damper was placed near the top of the building to reduce the sway and secure the upper reaches via gravity.

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Both the perimetre and core are made from concrete, using leading-edge construction technology. Mr. Brady said that his construction and developer partner devised the Lubeca system for jumping cores on some of the world’s tallest buildings, giving the project a technological advantage.

Australian developer Grocon intends to shift most of the proceeds from apartment sales in the 60-storey Melbourne skyscraper to an endowment fund for the Royal Society of Victoria, with investor profits capped at a minimum rate.

Before commissioning designs for the Magic tower, the Royal Society of Victoria (RSV) had a weather observation facility installed on the plot where the tower will be constructed.

For Decibel Architects, the goal is twofold: have the Melbourne skyscraper test the limits of height and slenderness and create a new benchmark for sustainable design, partly for the benefit of the RSV. The northern and western sides of the tower will have solar panels capable of powering the entire building and producing some oversupply that the RSV facilities could use. Rainwater would be captured from the exterior and stored for building use.

Zaha Hadid Architects is also planning to build a 64-metre-high Melbourne skyscraper while a Foster + Partners project is tentatively planned in the form of an Apple store for its Federation Square location.

Specialists in Construction Insurance


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