Banksia, New Quay


  • McBride Charles Ryan
  • MAB Corporation
  • Aspect Studios
  • Stutterheim Anderson Landscape Architecture


Banksia is Melbourne Docklands most recent building located on the northern waterfront. The location offered a unique opportunity to bring further diversity and urban legibility to this important urban waterfront precinct. The distinct façade was developed to recall the Banksia pod, the biomimicry linking the building metaphorically to the public park in which it sits. This echoing of its natural setting was developed throughout the design of the individual apartments and amenities. The building’s architectural language has been configured in a traditional manner reflecting the great traditional element of architecture, the column, with its base, its middle and its capital.

Key Features


The project presented the opportunity for a design that acted as a clear gateway on the waterfront and an important axial termination to the new public park. Banksia offered a series of complex and exciting urban relationships which the Architecture could respond to. The park was raised half a level providing an opportunity to develop a 100 metre single level car-park. The building is an extruded oval, the footprint shape minimizes the effects of high winds on the public realm. The distinct facade was developed to recall the Australian Banksia flower, linking the building metaphorically to the public park.


The curated Organic, Expressive, White & Gold and Blackened Silver interior styles capture the essence of Banksia’s interior strategy, each with a unique interpretation and character. Maximum diversity in apartment types was the aim. The oval shape contributed to diverse layouts of apartments multiplied by 4 finishes and colour schemes to choose from, as well as choices in size of apartments. This interior tailored approach allows its residents to create a home that tells a personal story through vibrant colours and natural or recycled materials. Humans are not battery hems, difference makes a more interesting and engaging world.

The Australian nature of Banksia’s interior challenges the Internationalism of the precinct and attempts to remember the past landscape and dwellers of this area. The distinct façade was developed to recall the Banksia pod, the biomimicry linking the building metaphorically to the native flora. Banksia offers a large variety of apartment types from residences, sky homes and penthouses that range in size from 75m2 to 315m2 across its 108 apartments. This strategy expands the demographic and enables the architecture to have a greater reach within the public.

To further enhance its sense of Australian, lighting was developed by young local design practices and local artists commissioned to produce integrated artworks. In contrast to the bland international style so often encountered, The Banksia Apartments with its overt use of local themes offers a new vision of the large city apartment building.


MCR believes strongly in the power of architecture to signify meaning and values, enriching the urban environment and its community of clients, users, visitors and passers-by. With each project, a rigorous investigation of the strategies and aspirations underpinning the brief is developed through explorations in the fields of geometric-description and material-palette to form unique spatial experiences. Such exploration recognizes the cultural value of the built environment. We believe architecture has the potential to engage in the articulation of complex issues, such as the representation of a city’s culture and identity.


In many ways the building’s architectural language has been configured in a conventional manner reflecting the great traditional element of architecture, the column, with its base, its middle and its capital. Banksia has a robust colonnade at ground level, a unique repetitive middle and a distinct and playful top. This combination of elements and scales allows the building to be experience and enjoyed from a variety of vantage points, both nearby and distant, assisting it to add legibility to its important urban condition. The building’s facade is realized through a combination of boat technology, digital design and on-site craftsmanship.

The Australian character is realized in all scales throughout the building. The general plan has a spherical core, which allows all apartments to look back and appreciate Melbourne’s skyline. Meanwhile, echoing of the natural setting is developed throughout the apartments, foyer and rooftop. Finally, to further harmonize with the native landscape, the language of native timber finishing, the vibrant colours as well as the vivid banksia wall prints that clad the accentuated forms at a smaller scale.

The use of timber firmly placed this building at the centre of the new public park. The relationship between the landscape and the use of timber in the building unites the two. The timber induced the feeling of comfort and warmth throughout the spaces and added warmth to areas like the rooftop. Inviting residents in to relax, pause and enjoy the variety of areas. Most vantage points of Banksia reveal the plethora of these Australian timbers. Engineered timber was part of an apartment upgrade option allowing people to adapt the palettes of their apartments to their ideal comfort.


Of the 108 apartments over 18 levels, there is a large variety of apartment types from residences, sky homes and penthouse that range in size from 75sq.m. to 315sq.m. The ground level contains the foyer, an F&B outlet and building services. A large portion of the rooftop has been given over to the residents, providing a banksia lounge in the crown of the building with startling views of the docklands harbour.

This Banksia building implemented a range of ecological initiatives to achieve a Green Star rating of 5. The building has been planned with well-designed spaces and strategies that promote healthy and active living. The rooftop level and central park provide a wide range of exercise opportunities. The building also incorporates cyclist facilities and is designed to encourage Melbourne’s evolving transport system. The building has been planned to employ passive design principles to minimise energy use requirements. Through fixed shading and high performance windows the façade addresses heat gain, heat loss and acoustic issues of this site.

Communal spaces use smart sensors to minimise lighting and air conditioning energy when these spaces are not occupied. The extensive use of different Australian timbers promotes and contributes to the process of long term carbon sequestration of the atmosphere. Finally, Rainwater runoff is also recycled to water tree plantings and garden beds.

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