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  • Writer's pictureTracie Harrington

Southbank Skyscraper Creates the World’s Tallest Vertical Garden

Developer Beulah is in the process of creating the world’s tallest vertical garden on its $2 billion Southbank tower in Melbourne.

The images and design details show more than 15,500 square metres of landscaping including the twisting “green spine” on Australia’s tallest tower.

The 365 metre-high design by Dutch firm UNStudio and Melbourne-based Cox Architecture was fast-tracked by the Victorian government with construction expected to start early 2022 and take five years to complete.

The landscaped design continues the global push for greener-skyscrapers including the Aria Property Group’s urban forest in Brisbane and Amazon’s “helix” headquarters in Virginia.

Beulah’s twisting spines include a series of outdoor spaces and green elements along the façades of the two towers.

However, building the world’s tallest vertical garden has come with its challenges.

▲ Southbank by Beulah will use plants from mountainous and coastal regions with placement based on sunlight, wind and elevation characteristics on each part of the towers.

The developer is working with a research and engineer team to create the towering feat and is also is in the process of appointing a landscape designer.

Water collected on the building terraces will be stored underground for reuse as irrigation while water stored by plants will help cool the surrounding building area in summer and warm it during winter.

Also taken into consideration is eliminating the risk of falling green material, with planting systems locking plants into planter beds and allowing for full abseiling maintenance.

The chosen plant species will be grown in a dedicated nursery in Victoria, which will mature in the landscape beds in the years preceding installation, grown within similar environmental conditions to ensure they thrive in their new, permanent locations.

This includes mountain and coastal plants being placed at higher levels in northern sunlight and morning breeze, with large-leaf breeds placed at lower heights like that of their natural rainforest conditions.

▲ Australia's tallest tower will also become home to the world's tallest vertical garden in Southbank, Melbourne.

Beulah executive director Adelene Teh said the project will provide individuals with the opportunity to connect with nature across every level of the two towers.

“With recent events highlighting the importance of a close connection to nature, beautiful, biophilic design is more important now than ever, particularly as Melburnians become more aware of the need for health and wellbeing,” Teh said.

“We know that the inclusion of greenery, water, light and other natural elements within a built environment positively affects how people interact with the space and how they feel in the space, both mentally and physically.”

Envisioned as a vertical mini-metropolis, Southbank by Beulah will comprise four distinct collections of private residences, public and green spaces, a rooftop sky garden, town hall and commercial offices.

There will also be a five-star urban resort, childcare centre, a health and wellness precinct, arts and culture spaces and programs, as well as experiential retail, all within two twisting terraced forms.


Renee McKeown

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