New heights in city design

Article image - New heights in city design Melbounre city skyline.

City of Melbourne will consider the establishment of a new Melbourne Design Review Panel and Design Excellence Advisory Committee in an effort to improve architectural and design quality in the city’s new developments.

Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Nicholas Reece said the changes would ensure Council worked in partnership with industry to deliver good quality urban design and architecture, heritage conservation and adaptation, improved sustainability and greening outcomes.

“We want to support designers and developers to do what they do well. That means working in partnership to improve design quality so private developments add to our city’s character and liveability.”

Cr Reece said good design would be critical to maintain Melbourne’s reputation as a highly attractive and liveable city as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Eureka Tower, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Federation Square and the new Parliament House Annexe are all examples of local designers creating amazing buildings that we should celebrate.

“But the painful truth is that Melbourne has suffered from far too many poor developments.

“Too many new towers are nothing more than spreadsheets in the sky, leaving the city poorer because of bad design and low-quality materials, particularly at street level.

“This is about setting in place expectations and processes to shape Melbourne’s streets, buildings and skyline for decades to come.”

The Design Excellence Advisory Committee (DEAC) would provide a platform for industry, academia, and community to engage in a range of topics relating to urban planning and design, policy development, and design challenges and opportunities facing Melbourne.

DEAC would also advise Council on the development and implementation of the Design Excellence Program, and explore opportunities to strengthen collaboration across award programs, design events and initiatives.

The second new body, the Melbourne Design Review Panel (MDRP) would be made up of the best and brightest of the architecture and design community who would provide independent, multidisciplinary design advice on specific City of Melbourne projects and Development Planning applications.

These MDRP reports would be publicly available and would be part of the materials considered by Council when deciding whether to support or oppose a development application. The panel would initially commence as a 12 month pilot program.