A massive European-style public park will be built in the heart of Southbank, bringing some sorely-needed greenery into one of Melbourne’s densest and tallest concrete pockets.

The 3700-square metre park has been unveiled as a part of a skyscraper project, Melbourne Square, set to rise above a former car park on a city-fringe block. The development will comprise four apartment complexes, a commercial building, a hotel and retail.

The six towers, connected by a network of green space, will range from 38 to 73 levels. It will include cascading water features, European-inspired piazzas and a “buzzing” outdoor terrace. It will also host events for Southbank residents such as markets and cultural activities, and vistas and seating will be nestled among the greenery.

Render of Malaysian developer OSK Melbourne Square project.

Render of Malaysian developer OSK Melbourne Square project. Photo: OSK Property, FloodSlicer Pty Ltd

The public space will take up a fifth of the $2.8 billion mixed-use development by Malaysian developer OSK Property, and will be one of the first aspects of the project to be built. The space has been designed by landscape architects, Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL), known for its work at the Australian Garden in Cranbourne and Sidney Myer Music Bowl. The project is one of the largest single development proposals ever put to the state’s planning authorities.

TCL managing director Perry Lethlean said the park would give Southbank a “new green heart” and activate the suburb.

“The park is part of a network of gardens inspired by Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens and qualities from other cities such as Paris, Berlin and Spain,” he said. “Generous promenades and plazas encourage the Italian tradition of promenading – taking an evening walk with family and friends.”

Melbourne Square is set to bring a massive park to Southbank.

Melbourne Square is set to bring a massive park to Southbank. Photo: OSK Property, FloodSlicer Pty Ltd

The parkland, on a gently rising slope, with water-lined steps, lends itself to an amphitheatre setting. Visitors will be welcomed at street level by a colourful display of flora, inspired by different parts of the world.

Malaysian developer OSK Property executive chairman Tan Sri Ong Leong Huat said the intention was to create a vertical community with opportunities to come together and connect through nature, leisure and retail.

“We believe this public realm will draw people from all over Southbank, and also provide an important linkage from the CBD through the arts precinct to the Botanic Gardens,” he said.

Designed by Cox Architecture, the project — bounded by the Westgate Freeway and Kavanagh, Balston and Power streets — will rise near the site of Crown’s 90-level tower, set to be Melbourne’s tallest skyscraper.

Australia Bureau of Statistics building approval data, compiled by Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson, showed 597 apartments were approved in the Southbank over the March quarter, the highest number for an area across Melbourne.

Read more: https://www.domain.com.au/news/melbourne-square-development-brings-europeanstyle-public-park-to-southbank-20170517-gw6ygu/