Rod Laver Arena gets an updating in Melbourne

Rod Laver Arena October 2017

Lendlease is currently constructing improvements to Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

Timing has never really been my thing. So in honor of the Australian Open (that ended 4 weeks ago), and our visit to Melbourne (that’s been over for 4 months), here are some photos of the ongoing construction at Rod Laver Arena, originally designed by Cox Architecture, at Melbourne Park. Lendlease is doing the honors.

You can learn more about the planned improvements from the arena’s website below:


Beginning in February 2016, and staged over four years, the Stage 2 redevelopment will breathe new life into Rod Laver Arena delivering:
• a new three-level, eastern-facing main public entrance and new annexes on the northern and southern sides of the building
• improved amenities, including more food and beverage outlets and toilets
• accessible entrances to the seating bowl and expanded public concourse spaces, making it easier to move around the building.


Extensive back-of-house improvements will ensure that performers and players enjoy the best possible amenities and staging facilities, including
• improved rigging capacity, enabling the venue to host bigger productions
• a bigger loading dock to manage faster turnaround of events
• refurbishment of the area underneath the arena, providing year-round services for artists, production crews and players during the Australian Open.

And now, for the pics. And remember, these are four months old.

In praise of Australia

It has been occurring to me more and more over the last couple of weeks how much I miss Australia. No doubt this Chicago weather has something to do with that, but by golly, what a joyous trip that was.

I returned Stateside with photo files of 75+ construction sites and individual buildings/skyscrapers. The building boom Down Under is real, and it is spectacular. You may have noticed “some” overage of it on these pages near the end of 2017. In case you need a refresher, click the links for posts from the following cities:


Aurora Melbourne

Aurora Melbourne.


Darling Square Sydney

Lendlease had seven tower cranes in the air at Darling Square in Sydney.


Brisbane Skytower

Brisbane Skytower on the right; the completed Abian Botanic Gardens on the left.

Gold Coast

Jewel Residences Gold Coast

The 5-crane masterpiece that is Jewel Residences, on the beach in Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast.

The Best of Brisbane, Daylight Edition: Abian Botanic Gardens (plus one Honorable Mention)

You’ve seen 111 Eagle Street, my pick for Brisbane’s Best at night. Now it’s time for the daylight edition winner, and that’s Abian Botanic Gardens.

Named for its proximity to Brisbane’s luxurious City Botanic Gardens, Abian is a 41-story condominium tower that just opened this summer. Built by Sunland Group, it is a design from Wood Marsh Architecture of Port Melbourne, Victoria.

Honorable Mention goes to Soleil ApartmentsMeriton Suites at 485 Adelaide Street. We stayed in a Meriton room our one night in Brisbane, but didn’t realize just how tall this monster was until we went out and about town, then started walking back. It’s got the height I love, plus great curvy colors on the facades.

Designed by DBI Designs (I’ll always love them for Jewel Residences) for Meriton,  Soleil was completed in 2012. It weighs in at 76 stories, with residences on the upper floors, and the hotel suites down low. It is officially the tallest building I’ve ever spent a night in. (I’m sure they’ll be adding a plaque in the lobby.)

The Best of Brisbane, Nighttime Edition: 111 Eagle Street

111 Eagle Street Brisbane Queensland Australia

111 Eagle Street stands out from the rest on the Brisbane skyline.

If you wander the streets of Brisbane during the light of day, but head indoors when the sun disappears, you’ll miss out some of the greatest views I’ve ever experienced, in any city.

Story Bridge Brisbane

Story Bridge from the Brisbane Riverwalk.

Here’s what you should do: When it gets dark, head down to the riverwalk along the Brisbane River, and keep going until you see the pretty blue lights framing Story Bridge. Then walk to the bridge itself and begin crossing the river. Now, stop. And just look.

From this vantage point, you’ll find Brisbane’s most spectacular piece of after-dark architecture, 111 Eagle Street. Designed by Cox Architecture (we saw their work at Conservatory Melbourne), developed by GPT Funds Management, and built by CIMIC Group111 Eagle Street opened in 2012. During the day, the 54-story tower doesn’t make the same impression. But just wait until you see it light up.


Australian Unity’s new offices begin to rise at 271 Spring Street in Melbourne

271 Spring Street Melbourne

Probuild’s tower crane has started construction on ISPT’s 271 Spring Street in Melbourne.

A noticeable trend in Australia is incorporating the old into the new. Saving facades, adding additions atop existing buildings, and developing around historic structures. 271 Spring Street is Melbourne is one such project.

Designed by John Wardle Architects, 271 Spring Street will be a 16-story office tower developed by ISPT. It will — literally — tower over the facades of the old Elms Hotel and the Mission Building along Spring Street. Probuild is the builder, which is why they get to have their name on the tower crane. (Side note: Getting my name on a tower crane is now a life goal.)

271 Spring Street looks like a cool building, right? Great location? Close to transportation? Want to lease some office space? Sorry. Every centimeter of the 15,600 square meters of space is spoken for by Australian Unity. They’ll move into the new digs in mid-2019.

271 Spring Street Melbourne

This on-site rendering poster shows how 271 Spring Street will loom over, and behind, two historic buildings.


Probuild, Golden Age Group announce topping out of Victoria One in Melbourne

Probuild's Victoria One project has topped out.

A post shared by Probuild (@probuildconstructions) on

Three weeks ago, we took a look at Victoria One, the 75-story, 629-unit apartment tower being built in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. And now we get word via the Instagram photo above from Probuild that Victoria One has topped out at 452 Elizabeth street in the Central Business District.

That means hearty congratulations are in order for the Victoria One team, including Probuild, developer Golden Age Group, and design architects Elenberg Fraser.

Golden Age Group celebrated via Instagram as well:

**UPDATE: Probuild has issued a press release on the topping out:

Probuild’s Victoria One has successfully topped out as the tallest tower in the Melbourne’s CBD.


Victoria One’s structure commenced in April 2015 and after 699 working days and 18,800m3 of concrete, the level 77 slab was completed on the 23rd of November 2017.


This milestone continues the success and achievements previously set by the team after completing and handing over 232 apartments in June 2017. A further 98 apartments are to be handed over to the client before the end of 2017, which will take the total amount of completed and settled apartments to 330. Our team has been committed to delivering a high quality build, despite the complexity of this construction project.


Once completed, the project will feature 643 residential apartments, the largest car stacker in the southern hemisphere, 11.5km of façade fins and 22,500m2 of glass façade with the total weight of the structure estimated to be around 54,000 tonnes.

Cranes Without Context: Bondi Beach, Sydney Edition

Just east of downtown Sydney, New South Wales lies the Pacific Ocean. You probably knew that. And just before you get to the water, you’ll find Bondi Beach, one of Sydney’s most popular attractions for the surfing and tourist crowds alike. As someone who’s never been to the Mediterranean, the surrounding architecture has a very Mediterranean feel to me. And they’re building more, as evidenced by the numerous tower cranes jutting out of the scenery.