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MELBOURNE | Magic Tower | 330m | 1083ft | 60 fl | Pro

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'Magic' Melbourne skyscraper would be Australia's tallest building

PHOTO: An artist's impression of the tower, which would be Australia's tallest building. (Supplied: Royal Society of Victoria )

A "super slender" skyscraper that would be Australia's tallest building has been proposed for a tiny wedge of land in Melbourne's CBD.

The Royal Society of Victoria, which owns the site at the intersection of La Trobe and Victoria streets, announced its proposal for the 330-metre-high tower on Saturday.

If approved, it would be 7.5 metres taller than Australia's current tallest building, the Gold Coast's Q1, and significantly taller than Melbourne's tallest building, the 297-metre Eureka Tower.

The society says the money raised from the sale of apartments in the 60-storey tower, to be called Magic, will secure the financial future of the organisation and its work to promote science.

The triangular plot of land, about the size of half a tennis court, was used by the Bureau of Meteorology as its city weather observation station until three years ago.

When the bureau removed its weather station from the block, the Royal Society called for ideas for new uses for the land.

PHOTO: The site was used as a weather observation station until three years ago. (ABC News: Iskhandar Razak)

"We had 30 different applications from design companies, from architecture firms and just general members of the public," Royal Society chief executive Mike Flattley said.

"Some of them were absolutely fabulous, but there was only one that really came with a financial plan."

Architect Dylan Brady said the tower had been designed to be as tall as possible to create as much wealth as possible and the apartments within it were aimed at "high net worth individuals".

"We intend to attract the minds of people like Elon Musk, like Richard Branson like Bill Gates, who all have philanthropic-driven understandings of value, who would love a fantastic apartment with a brilliant view knowing that the profit of their apartment is being channelled into the scientists and the science outreach programs of the Royal Society of Victoria for the next 160 years," he said.

The Royal Society of Victoria was founded in 1854 as a private association to encourage scientific research.

It commissioned Burke and Wills' ill-fated expedition to cross the Australian continent, and also kicked off Australia's exploration of Antarctica.

Society president David Zerman said it hoped to generate more than $10 million in profit from apartment sales, which it would use to upgrade its heritage-listed home on the neighbouring site, develop a new science engagement centre and cafe, and create an endowment fund to support its efforts to promote science to students, adults and the community.

PHOTO: The site of the proposed tower is the size of half a tennis court. (Supplied: Royal Society of Victoria)

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The shape reminds me of the Gateway Tower concept in Chicago.
Still can't see this getting up, particularly in light of tomorrow's election result.

Eagles and bees could find a home in CBD skinny tower plan

Homes for peregrine falcons, native bees or even wedge-tailed eagles could be incorporated into the design of Melbourne’s most ambitious skyscraper.

The Royal Society of Victoria is pushing ahead with preliminary plans for its “Magic Tower”, a skinny structure for the organisation’s triangle of land on the edge of the Melbourne CBD.

The spare land — just 250sq m — at the point of the Latrobe and Victoria streets junction would be the location for a blade-like landmark up to 330m high.

Society president David Zerman said both the tower and the organisation’s adjoining grounds would be designed to support a variety of plants and animals.

“We will be looking at how our entire site ... can be designed to support urban biodiversity through incorporating ecological niches for diverse indigenous species, from wedge-tailed eagles to native bees, from hardy escarpment plantings to shade and moisture-loving gardens.’’

His comments come as the society has signed a formal agreement to progress with the idea for the slender building, first revealed in May by the Herald Sun.

Mr Zerman signed the deal with Daniel Grollo of construction giant Grocon and Dylan Brady of deciBel Architecture.

“We don’t yet know the final scale or character of the proposed triangular building at the tip of our block,’’ Mr Zerman said.

“The site remains unique, as does the architectural, engineering, business and planning challenge of realising the opportunity presented.’’

Royal Society chief executive Michael Flattley said 80 per cent of their members had voted to proceed with the project.

“It comes with the caveat that members are involved and we can activate the knowledge of those members,’’ he said.

Concerns had been raised about the heritage impacts of the project on the nearby Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens South.

The tower needs council, state and federal approval, as well as heritage clearance before the first sod is turned.

The project aims to use the latest innovations in science and engineering.

Profits from the project would fund a science engagement centre, upgrade the society’s headquarters and create an endowment fund for projects and awards.

“The project is underwriting the society’s vision for the next century,’’ Mr Flattley said.

Mr Brady has said the structure aimed to celebrate science and was not for the profit of a developer.
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