Building rumours 19: Featherston Tower
With so many new buildings planned or rumoured at the moment, it's hard to know where to start. I'll round up some of the apartment developments soon, but for the moment here's something to show that, despite predictions from the anti-Harbour Quays lobby, there's still plenty of interest in building office towers in the core CBD.
A sign has popped up on the corner of Featherston and Waring Taylor streets advertising "Featherston Tower". This is an unusual development, since while most of it will be built on the site of what's now a low-rise building at 128 Featherston St, a lot of it will be constructed on top of the 11-storey Laptop Company Building next door.
Interestingly, this is not the first we've seen of this project. DeepRed over at SkyscraperCity posted a link to the engineers' website, and that has some rather different renders:
Apart from the apparent façade differences, which may just be because the engineers are concentrating on the structural details, the main difference is that the southern section is significantly taller and appears to have an angled roof. Given the timing, I'd expect that the top render is what will actually be built, and I think it's quite an improvement.
Rather than a single, rather heavy slab, the building now reads as a slender tower adjacent to a floating glassy volume. The vertical fins on the tower section seem to extend slightly above the building itself, increasing the sense of slenderness and, if the detailing is handled well, giving a sense of the top of the building dissolving into the sky. While there's something to be said for the argument that a building's top and bottom should be marked architecturally, too often the tops of office towers have been capped with pseudo-domestic pitched roofs or quasi-Classical frippery: this seems like a more appropriate way to treat the top of a skyscraper without descending into pastiche.
It will be a shame to lose the existing brick building, partly because of the warmth of its materials and restrained Deco-ish details, but mostly because it's been a rare example of a cheap old building in the CBD that's allowed small and interesting businesses to get a start. Still, the signs are good that this will be a decent enough replacement, if not a brilliant piece of architecture. The earlier design was by ArcHaus: does anyone know whether the new version is the work of a different firm, or just an evolution of the design?