One East Melbourne

One East Melbourne is a luxury 19-storey apartment tower plus a three-level commercial building holding 6000 m2 of office space.

It occupies a privileged location beside the Jolimont rail yards on the eastern edge of the CBD grid. Its height slots between the tall city towers and the intermediate buildings by the CBD’s eastern edge.


The commercial building sits above a pair of City Loop rail tunnels. The building houses tenancies with flexible, rearrangeable spaces. The office and car park façades function as a base to the tower and they have a stratified stone cladding, which continues into the foyer.

The building rests on three columns, one between the two City Loop tunnels; one on either side. With engineers Winward Structures, we designed columns that do not touch the surrounding earth or infrastructure: each is concealed inside a protective sleeve to insulate the building from noise and vibrations. The building was constructed without any disruption to rail services. Its foundations are just a metre above the tunnel roof.


“This design develops a significant advancement for multi-residential architecture, through its deft combination of market realities and higher order civic ideas.”

—Awards jury citation, Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter


Inside the building’s big pointy ears, the triangular rooms jut out diagonally into the panoramic cityscape. Besides views, the wide faces, corners and curves maximise sunlight and ventilation. There is a visual and physical access to open spaces and public and community services. There are windows that open.

The building is wider at the top than at the ground and the floor plans are different on each storey. The tower’s slender form and footprint means areas of every apartment face north and are filled with natural light during the day.

The apartments closest to the ground are designed as terrace units to connect to the street level; they are contemporary interpretations of the historic East Melbourne neighbourhood scape.


The roof of the commercial building features a swirling stone paving pattern very similar to the work of Brazilian modernist landscape architect and nature artist Burle Marx.You can view it from many vantage points on the edge of the CBD and from the apartments. We considered this rooftop a blank canvas—an irresistible opportunity to create a strong sculptural form legible from a  distance.


One East Melbourne’s commercial building was awarded a 5-Star Green Star rating and constructed by an Environmental Management System certified contractor. It has a 5-Star NABERS rating because it has efficient heating and cooling systems that minimise energy consumption levels. These systems include a chilled-beam floor slab system that requires little maintenance and infrequent servicing. The commercial building will continue to save electricity, water and gas over many years.