Crown Resorts’ recently approved skyscraper, One Queensbridge Street, has already attracted some criticism. Neighbours claim the 90-storey building was exempt from the regular approval process.
Another criticism is that the new tower, once it is completed, will reportedly overshadow the Shrine of Remembrance on winter afternoons.
Premier Daniel Andrews’s approval of Australia’s soon-to-be tallest tower comes despite the Labor Party’s vow to never sign off on projects that would interfere with the “sacred” Shrine.
“The Shrine and the precinct around the Shrine have great significance for not just Victorians but Australians,” David Davis, Victoria’s Shadow Minister for Planning, told Broadsheet.
One Queensbridge Street will cover the Shrine in even more shadow than the Australia 108 residential tower, the approval of which also caused controversy last year.
Dean Lee, the chief executive officer of the Shrine of Remembrance, issued a statement saying that principal ceremonial days, such as Anzac Day, would not be affected by shadows any more than is currently the case with existing buildings and trees.
But, according to a shadow study conducted by consultants for owners in a neighbouring Southbank tower, One Queensbridge Street will cast the Shrine in shadow for 58 afternoons in winter, the Age reported.
On those days the shadow will reach the Shrine after 3.45pm. Current legislation protects the Shrine from 11am until 3pm each day.
The consequences of building shadows have subtle but important consequences on city life. And according to Davis, development projects in central Melbourne consistently neglect cultural importance. “The impacts on specific cultural or heritage spaces need to be closely examined,” he says.
As Melbourne grows so too does the number of high-rise residential developments in the inner city. Often these developments are built at the expense of heritage destinations, such as The Corkman Hotel, which has been demolished, and The Great Western Hotel, which is earmarked for demolition.
“What that intense growth means is that you do have to protect your heritage, and you do have to ensure that key precincts are protected … Shadowing is a critical component of that,” Davis says.