171, A Three Part Exploration of Daylight and Glass

171 Collins Street is a boutique commercial tower in Melbourne, Australia and was the first premium grade tower in the city for nearly twenty years. The project was controversial at the time, doubling the discretionary 40m height limit in the centre of the central business district. In order to build a tower of 80m in height in the 40m heritage zone, the planning and architectural team had to develop a strong architectural and urban position that the State Government could support. The resultant tower won many awards and environmentally was the first 6 star NABERS building in Victoria and the second in Australia. It was also the first ‘as built’ premium grade 6 star Green Star commercial buildings (similar to LEED Platinum) in the State of Victoria. The design focused on three key elements, the tower as a backdrop to the cathedral spires, the atrium as the heart of the building, and the podium as a 20th century glass interpretation of the 19th century masonry laneway. These three focal areas explore the innovative use of glass – the tower utilised fritted glass (applied treatment), the podium has routered glass (surface manipulation), the atrium uses inclined low iron glass (surface reflectance).