In June 2017, KTA was commissioned to re-imagine the collection of buildings collectively known as the Gothic Bank Complex at the corner of Queen Street and Collins Street in Melbourne’s Central Business District. The complex is comprised of three 19th century Boom-Era Neo-Gothic architectural landmarks, including the former ES&A Bank at 388 Collins Street, the Former Melbourne Stock Exchange at 380 Collins Street, and the Safe Deposit Building at 90 Queen Street. The 1990s Post-Modern ANZ Tower anchors the northern half of the site, at the corners of Queen Street and Little Collins Street. The strategy was to align urban design imperatives with heritage celebrations. A new interstitial network forged the primary pedestrian route and re-prioritised the Cathedral Room as a focal point of the site.
In contrast to the usual corporate lobby’s, the site is layered and dynamic, with a series of semi open-air lanes, courtyards and intimate squares – campiellos – of varying heights extending from ground to level three. It feels distinctly urban and Melbourne with a Venetian-Gothic sensibility. The materials, details and motifs reinforce the historic and compelling source of inspiration. Considerations include buttressed new floors; tracery in retail facades; interspersing open spaces; interplay of light and darkness with pathways illuminated by pink lanterns recalling those of Saint Mark’s Square and a palette featuring marble, terrazzo and coloured glass.
Integrating the three heritage buildings with four new retail blocks formed a ‘city within a city’, with which each building having its own identity through subtle variations in articulation and material.
The project is a collaboration between KTA – podium, ground plane, urban design and BVN – workplace.