Aria proposes “world’s greenest residential tower” for South Brisbane

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Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane

Aria Property Group has proposed a development application for a thirty storey residential tower in South Brisbane which it claims will be the world’s greenest residential building accomodating a staggering 1,003 trees and 20,000 plants.

Known as ‘Urban Forest’, the building’s green plot ratio will be 292%, setting a record for a residential building anywhere. To explain this further, if a plot of flat green parkland was 100%, due to the multi-level nature of the building’s structure, more land is created vertically upwards for more trees and green space. This is how you get a green plot ratio of 292%.

“This unprecedented level of landscaping not only creates a striking building but is a dynamic, active component of the built form, increasing biodiversity and reducing the ecological footprint of the city.

The tower celebrates Brisbane’s unique identity – green, open, light and permeable. The landscaping will be a combination of indigenous and exotic planting, resulting in an expression of both verdant original forests and familiar Brisbane residential gardens.

The building has been designed to well exceed Council’s Buildings That Breathe requirements, with a climatically responsive design that provides an exemplar architectural response to the guidelines.” – Urbis

Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane

Located at 23-25 Glenelg Street, South Brisbane, the development aims to achieve “8 big ideas” which are listed below:

  1. Creating the greenest residential building in the world
  2. Creating a green spine along Glenelg Street
  3. New public park and visitor centre
  4. Creating the first stand-alone 5-star green star residential building
  5. Creating the most livable apartments in the world – backyards in the sky
  6. Creating the highest communal recreation area
  7. Public art and lighting
  8. Creating a building that can be the benchmark for buildings that breathe
Artist's impression of proposed amphitheater as part of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of the proposed amphitheatre as part of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of proposed amphitheater as part of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of the proposed amphitheatre as part of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of proposed ground floor public urban common as part of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of proposed ground floor public urban common as part of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane

Designed by Koichi Takada Architects, the project’s vision is to extend the realm of landscaping down the tower to public open space provided at ground level and onto a future “green spine street” on Glenelg Street linking South Bank Parklands to Musgrave Park.

Over half of the ground floor (1,642 sqm) is set to be transformed into a communal open space, with unencumbered 24-hour public access.

The open space will integrate a variety of seating, open space, lighting, art and water features, all set beneath high volume, sculptural green columns which support the suspended tower form above.

The space will include children’s play elements integrated into a sloping site, a canopy
skywalk hidden behind a cascading waterfall, water ponds meandering from Musgrave Park down the hill to Merivale Street (referencing the “ghost creeks” of South Brisbane) and an amphitheatre/stage for performances to encourage public activity.

Proposed ground floor landscaping plan by Lat27 of Aria's Urban Forest proposal
Proposed ground floor landscaping plan by Lat27 of Aria’s Urban Forest proposal
Proposed ground floor landscaping plan by Lat27 of Aria's Urban Forest proposal
Proposed ground floor landscaping plan by Lat27 of Aria’s Urban Forest proposal
Proposed ground floor landscaping plan by Lat27 of Aria's Urban Forest proposal
Proposed ground floor landscaping plan by Lat27 of Aria’s Urban Forest proposal

The open elements will be complemented by a mixed-use built form which aims to create a thriving and activated public realm, including the residential lobby and visitor information centre.

“As cities grow they can either sprawl towards the horizon – or consolidate, offering high quality living environments within an easy walk of all that the City has to offer. 

Our objective is to deliver the greenest residential building in the world, measured against international standards for green buildings. A key element of this proposal is to educate and inform residents and tourists of how this building evolved and fits within our local environment.”

Brisbane enjoys Australia’s best climate conditions. The Urban Forest will allow residents to enjoy it in unprecedented fashion for Australian apartment living.” – Aria Property Group

Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development from the M1 Motorway
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development from the M1 Motorway
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development from the M1 Motorway
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development from the M1 Motorway

Aria is proposing to create a ‘world-class’ visitor experience and tourist centre which will have the ability to educate patrons on the building, plant types and biodiversity. The centre will provide the opportunity to engage with local schools, universities and visitors on an educational basis.

Development rundown

  • Site area: 2,784sqm
  • Proposed Use: Residential building (Multiple Dwelling), Retail tenancy/Information and Visitors Centre (Centre Activities Community Use, Food and Drink Outlet, Indoor Sport and Recreation, Office and Shop, Bar and Hotel)
  • Height: 30 storey tower plus two communal rooftop levels
  • Number of apartments: 382 apartments, including 208 x 2-bedroom apartments, 174 x 3-bedroom apartments
  • Gross Floor Area (GFA): 90sqm total non-residential GFA (Visitor Information Centre)
  • Car Parking 561 spaces total, including:
    ▪ 529 resident spaces (inc. 50 car stacker spaces and 5 EV cars)
    ▪ 32 visitor spaces (inc. 1 PWD space)
    ▪ 0 non-residential tenant spaces
  • Car Hire Scheme (Electric) 5 x EV cars for use exclusive use by residents (Body Corporate managed)
  • Bicycle Parking 478 spaces total, including:
    ▪ 382 resident spaces
    ▪ 96 visitor spaces
  • Landscaping/Green Plot Ratio: 8,129sqm total landscaping (292% of site area)
  • Public Open Space: 1,642m2 of publicly accessible open space at the ground level
  • Balcony backyards: Each balcony will have an average 28sqm outdoor terrace and approximately 15sqm garden space accommodating a minimum of two trees and 30 low-level shrubs
  • 5 Star Green Star Residential Building Credentials:
    ▪ Reduction in energy use via high-efficiency air conditioning, high efficiency LED lighting, high-performance glazing and good natural ventilation
    ▪ Roof-mounted solar farm generating renewable energy to reduce the building’s ongoing and peak power demand
    ▪ Home energy and water metering systems that will allow occupants to track water and energy use
    ▪ Orientation to minimise summer solar gain and maximise natural cross-ventilation;
    ▪ High-efficiency sanitation fittings and dishwashers to reduce water usage
    ▪ Provision of bike racks, scooter bays and end of trip facilities for residents and community
    ▪ Designing the building with future climatic conditions taken into account;
    ▪ Ensuring that all spaces conform to GBCA’s requirements of indoor air quality, lighting, acoustic and thermal comfort to increase the residents’ amenity
    ▪ Treatment and retention of all site stormwater and greywater
    ▪ A fleet of communal use electric vehicles (owned by Body Corporate and charged by rooftop PV panels) able to be booked by resident’s reducing reliance on car ownership and traditional petrol consumption.
Proposed tree count in Aria's Urban Forest development - South Brisbane
Proposed tree count in Aria’s Urban Forest development – South Brisbane

“As cities become ever more dense and built-up, green spaces and provision for nature is
even more necessary to maintain and increase the quality of life” – Urbis

The development application states that to ensure the success of the facade planting, a robust maintenance strategy has been designed to ensure all gardens are accessible from common areas without specialist equipment.

This, along with the integrated irrigation, will maximise long term growth of planting, while being maintained at a comparatively lower cost by Body Corporate. The upkeep of the planting will not fall to the individual owners, ensuring the long term health of vegetation and visual gardens are well kept at all times and over the full life of the building.

The planting will feature vegetation that is familiar to Brisbane, both indigenous and exotic.

The project will also feature a double-level rooftop communal recreation space, which is said to be the largest of any other comparative Brisbane or Australian residential development.

The building provides a communal recreation area in excess of 13sqm per apartment compared to the standard 2sqm delivered in Brisbane.

Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane

According to the development application, combined with the private terraces, each apartment has access to a greater portion of open space than any other apartment development in Australia.

Level 1 rooftop amenities:

  • 50m infinity pool
  • Hot pool and kids pool
  • Cabanas/sun lounges and day beds
  • Barbeque areas and outdoor dining
  • Outdoor play area
  • Indoor gymnasium and HIIT room with terrace
  • Creche and ball pit
  • Indoor wellness spa, sauna and steam rooms
  • Indoor and outdoor lounges and terraces.
Artist's impression of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist's impression of the rooftop park on top of Aria's Urban Forest development in South Brisbane
Artist’s impression of the rooftop park on top of Aria’s Urban Forest development in South Brisbane

Level 2 rooftop amenities:

  • Private terraces
  • Private dining rooms and kitchens
  • Wine wall
  • Games room
  • Boardroom
  • Shared co-working space
  • Cinema and music room
  • Coffee lounge and bar
  • Indoor and outdoor lounge and fireplace.

Landscape architects Lat27 has created a green spine masterplan vision which includes improvements and upgrades to Glenelg Street and surrounding green spaces.

Glenelg Street green spine masterplan vision as part of Aria's Urban Forest proposal
Glenelg Street green spine masterplan vision as part of Aria’s Urban Forest proposal

The vision is to strengthen the link from Musgrave Park to the Brisbane River, with the ability to close the street for community parties and events. The masterplan includes details on the following upgrades:

  • Upgrades to Park Entrances – upgrades to Musgrave Park and South Bank Parkland entrances to create an entry/front door to these precincts bookending the Green Spine, create a safer pedestrian experience at crossings and provide better public amenity at these key intersections.
  • Upgrades to edges of TAFE Park – upgrades to the edges of the TAFE QLD park on the corner of Glenelg Street and Merivale Street to create a connecting open space language at this important intersection.
  • Improvements along Glenelg Street – the vision for Glenelg Street involves reducing the roadway between Merivale and Cordelia Streets to two lanes, supported by detailed traffic analysis. This reduced number of lanes allows a double footpath width to be created, ensuring a more pedestrian-centric walkway, doubling the number of street trees and creating a softer interface to Brisbane State High School. The ultimate vision for Glenelg Street is a pedestrian space with shaded areas, slow-moving vehicles, trees, lighting, artwork and inventive footpath treatments (note no changes are proposed to the street width between Merivale and Grey Streets).
  • Artwork – enhance each space with bespoke lighting, projection art, seating and green walls.

Plans

Glenelg St Master Plan

 

According to planners Urbis, the upgrades take inspiration from and provide a continuation of Aria’s significant investment in Fish Lane and Town Square, both projects which transformed an underutilised service-vehicle heavy streetscape into an activated pedestrian link which incorporates artwork, pockets of open space, cafés, bars and restaurants to create a destination precinct within the City.

It is expected that all upgrades outside the site boundaries can be conditioned as external roadworks to be carried out subsequent to any decision for the proposal on the site.

Tell us what you think about this development below in the comment box. The development application for this project, available to view on Brisbane City Council’s Planning & Development Online is A005490380.

plans1-opt

 

Architectural design

86 %

Building amenities

86 %

Building greenery (Buildings that breathe)

86 %

Public realm / Street activation

100 %

Sustainability

100 %

By 17 reviewer(s)

  • Avatar

    Colleen Finn

    I could see myself living there, I would love to live in the city but dislike not have green space around but in this building you would be surrounded by it. Fabulous design but I think I would need to win lotto to be able to afford it.

    April 26, 2021

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    Charlotte

    Brutalist concrete structure made “beautiful” by being filled with plants. Plants need water. Water erodes concrete. Can’t see a problem with that, can you?

    Did no one look in to the number of times these developments have failed, and either end up being condemned due to structural insecurity, or just ugly due to lack of maintenance/storms/transient occupants? Think your 1brm apartment filled with 3 young students are going to remember to keep the soil aerated?

    Shaking my head at this level of blind ambition. Hope it doesn’t become the eyesore of the Olympics.

    February 25, 2021

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    Christine Sullivan

    Love the idea, best wishes for this brilliant development.It is a concern about the maintenance of the plants and trees. Hope it can work for all concerned. Would love the idea of living in such a building and area.

    February 22, 2021

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    EcoBris

    I think the concept is great, I just wonder the cost of ongoing maintenance, as the building ages and the internal irrigation system ages undoubtedbly issues will arise in terms of access to this areas to service them. I suppose its no more a problem then general building utilities structure maintenance.

    I do have a big question mark on the body corporate costs, I think they are downplaying that. But I think if you are a person that would like to live in a building like that and you are eco conscious I suppose the costs would be acceptable. Much like buying a Mercedes and expecting the servicing and ongoing maintenance costs to be a bit more than say buying a Toyota.

    If they get this right, I think it will be amazing and will change how we look at residential towers.

    February 4, 2021

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    Sam Kelly

    With the amount of concrete going into this building, they might consider using a zero cement alternative (cement production accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions). Wagners do an Earth Friendly Concrete with zero cement and 80% less embodied carbon. Could be a good option for use in the ‘world’s greenest building’?

    November 13, 2020

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  • Avatar

    Lisa Carson

    What a truely stunning development, this would create a benchmark development in breathing, living buildings not only for Brisbane, but for Australia as a whole. The green Infrastructure on this project would be an asset to our built environment that delivers multiple social, environmental and economic benefits.

    September 22, 2020

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    Neville Cottrell

    A credit to the developers for a beautiful and ambitious design. The majority of the cost will be capital costs (soil, planting, mulch, automated irrigation systems, moisture content alarms, etc.) incurred by the developers. I would assume that for a project such as this rainwater would be harvested for irrigation and potentially recycled greywater treated for re-use as irrigation which would reduce the dependence on potable town water from the mains. I would also assume that there would be a landscape maintenance plan however the design looks like the majority of the planters are accessible from unit balconies so owners could potentially assist in the maintenance of their space. Façade planting has the added benefit of reducing energy costs within apartments, improving air quality, storing carbon, capturing dust and reducing the urban heat island effect. Lastly purchasers could always request the project sinking and maintenance fund calculations prior to purchasing to understand what their body corporate fees would be.

    September 21, 2020

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    Celeste

    This is a very interesting development, exactly the type of unique design Brisbane deserves. I look forward to following along on the journey to completion.

    My main query is why are no 1 bedroom apartments being offered? For many people, the 1 bedroom apartment is their only way to afford living so close to the city, in a beautifully designed, new building.

    July 11, 2020

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    Peter Skinner

    The Green Plot ratio on this project is highly commendable and hopefully will persuade more Brisbane developers of the benefits of lush landscaping for both urban impact and residential appeal. The exploration of ‘greenness’ has further to go in terms of environmental systems and apartment planning for subtropical life, but this is a bold proposal by architects, landscape architects and developer that will have a big impact on our city.

    July 10, 2020

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    Yoshi

    I thought the code is 11 levels?

    July 9, 2020

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Architectural design
Building amenities
Building greenery (Buildings that breathe)
Public realm / Street activation
Sustainability