Australia’s tallest building one step closer with Beulah International selecting a winning design for its inner-Melbourne site

Rooftop view of The Green Spine design, penned by COX Architecture and UNStudio

Postscript: this development received council approval in April, 2020.

Australia could soon have a new tallest building – a residential tower in Melbourne’s Southbank.

Today, developer Beulah International named The Green Spine as the winner of a design competition launched earlier this year, and which was recently shortlisted to six proposals.

The $2 billion Green Spine is penned by Melbourne group COX Architecture with Dutch firm UNStudio.

Distinctive, it will include two towers, each with a wall that twists where it faces the other.

The shorter of the two buildings – to be configured with offices and a hotel – will rise 252 metres. The taller tower will soar 356 metres and include a botanic garden amongst its numerous public spaces.

As well as apartments, The Green Spine will include retail, recreation and exhibition spaces. A terraced podium on the ground floor, for public use, will offer platforms and be able to accommodate events. The complex also includes a rooftop park.

Approval for the project will rest with the Victorian government once a development application is lodged. An obstacle the developer may face with the proposed height is an Essendon Airport flightpath affecting airspace within the Southbank area. The rules for approach and departure procedures – PANS-OPS – are set by international agreement.

According to this article by, The Green Spine was inspired by Paris’ Centre Georges Pompidou which was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.

“Centre Pompidou has a very active edge which means it activates the public space adjacent to it. In some ways that’s what we’re proposing [in Southbank],” Phillip Rowe, of COX Architects, told the website.

The other five designs submitted to replace what is currently a BMW dealership at 58 Southbank Boulevard, included a single building.

The Green Spine will comfortably surpass the height of Melbourne’s next tallest tower which is coincidentally across the road. That residential complex, Australia 108, rises 100-storeys, or 319 metres (including a tip), from 70 Southbank Boulevard.

The Eureka Tower, completed in 2006, is also in the vicinity. It soars 297 metres, or 91 storeys.

Queensland’s Q1 tower, on the Gold Coast, measured with its spire, rises 322 metres and is currently considered Australia’s tallest building.

The Malaysian-backed Beulah International, which has its Australian headquarters in Melbourne, paid $101.09 million for the 6191 sqm Southbank site at 58 Southbank Boulevard, last year.

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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and experienced analyst, Marc is the co-founder of