Point One Studio

2010 Evolo Design Competition

The proposed tower is located in Melbourne’s Docklands, Victoria, Australia.


  • Approved & Design by: Point one studio
  • BIM (Building Information Modeling) Document by: Point one studio
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Program: Museum / Office / Hotel / Residence / Retails /Public Park
  • Project Type: Skyscraper
  • Date: Jan. 2010



The skyscraper (whether for office, apartment, hotel, or other use) is probably the most ubiquitous building type in all major cities today. In the last few years hundreds of new skyscrapers without careful consideration of the surrounding context or environment have been developed. As a result, most of world biggest cities, such as New York, Mexico City, Seoul, and Tokyo have severe urban pollution due to the buildings as well as industrial development. Therefore, the designers, scientists, architects, and engineers must consider every stage of the project life cycle from conception to utilization.

Site Analysis

The proposed tower is located in Melbourne's Docklands, Victoria, Australia. The city of Melbourne is located on the large natural bay known as Port Phillip, with the city center positioned at the estuary of the Yarra River. Melbourne is often referred to as Australia's garden city, and the state of Victoria was once known as the garden state. There is an abundance of parks and gardens in Melbourne, many close to the CBD with a variety of common and rare plant species amid landscaped vistas, pedestrian pathways and tree-lined avenues. Since 1997, Melbourne has maintained significant population and employment growth. There has been substantial international investment in the city's industries and property market. Therefore, major inner-city urban renewal has recently occurred in areas such as Southbank and Melbourne Docklands. However, like many urban environments, Melbourne faces some significant environmental issues, many of them relating to the city's large urban footprint and urban sprawl and the demand for infrastructure and services. One such issue is water usage, drought and low rainfall. Drought in Victoria, low rainfalls and high temperatures deplete Melbourne water supplies and climate change will have a long-term impact on the water supplies of Melbourne. Melbourne has been in a drought since 1997. On the other hand, the population of Melbourne has been growing up drastically since 1997. In particular, Melbourne Docklands has been developing rapidly as a major inner city. In fact, Docklands has a lack of green vegetation area in comparison to the CBD. The EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and several local councils must take the pollution in Docklands into consideration.


Design Concept

This is a proposal for 370meters high-rise skyscraper, dubbed as THE CACTUS TOWER, is fully focused on its operational systems. The shape of the tower is based on a cactus and its triangular fractals. In general, the cactus can adapt to any kind of environment. In some countries, such as Australia, many cities have water restrictions, therefore drought-resistant plants are increasing in popularity.

As an urban model, the multi-functional high rise, with its mix of residential, commercial and office programs, has the potential to dynamically engage in Docklands harbour which is located in between the Southern Cross railway station and the City Circle tram line. THE CACTUS TOWER takes into account the HVAC [Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning] energy consumption, which is the biggest energy consumption of skyscrapers. To design an eco-skyscraper, the designers should create a symbiosis in different operational systems. The proposed tower has 10 different building operational systems :

  • Transportation - Ecodesign must take into account the ecological consequences of transportation. The design strategy is to seek transport mode integration through the reduction of private-vehicle transportation in favour of public transportation (tram and trains) and pedestrian (Connection A, B, and C).
  • Passive solar design through Solar-control devices - Generally, on the sides of the building (the east and west sides) with excess heat, regardless of the latitude, some form of solar shading is required, making due allowance for glare and the quality of light entering the spaces. The proposed tower uses advanced photovoltaic solar power films on the west and east façade then North façade is glazed with low e glazing windows. The solar films follow the sun-movement during the day so that it continually shades the interior while generating energy simultaneously.
  • Water conservation strategies - The greywater generated from the building can be used for irrigation. However, graywater should be passed through filter systems [Sky-courts, Green balconies]. Even 'black water' (sewage from toilets) can be treated and used to water landscape vegetation.
  • Vertical landscaping & Natural ventilation - The spiral precast concrete slabs with green balconies have capability to store thermal mass and allows natural ventilation by introducing outdoor air with a given higher wind speed into a building. At night and early in the morning, cold air absorbs evaporated moisture from green balconies and disperses it into the building to cool it down.
  • Passive design by choice of material colours of the building envelope - Lighter-coloured materials reflect instead of absorbing heat as thermal radiation more readily, thus bringing about lower temperatures within the building.
  • Passive daylight concepts - The objective in the ecological design is to optimise the use of daylighting and to decrease the need for energy-consuming artificial lighting by reflecting sunlight to the ceiling plane.
  • Transitional spaces and skycourts - 'Skycourts' to serve as interstitial zones between the inside and the outside. These “parks-in-the-sky” balance the inorganic mass of the building's hardware and components with an organic mass to develop a more balanced ecosystem. Thus rainwater is retained and evaporated, new wildlife habitats are created, internal insulation is improved, and energy consumption reduced.
  • Vertical Core and structure - The significant savings in air-conditioning can be achieved from a double-core configuration with window-openings running north-south and cores on the east and west which reduces heat build-up during the day and excess heat to be flushed out with cool air at night.
  • Labyrinth climate control system - Named as a result of its maze of corrugated concrete walls, the Labyrinth is a unique passive cooling system which provides cooling and heating. It works by pumping cool night air through its cells from an intake facing the water underneath of the tower, which in turn cools the concrete cells. By day, air is again pumped through the cells, where it is cooled down before entering the podium and other spaces.
  • Double façade - The benefits of a double façade include dampening of noise emissions, reduction in high-wind.