Urban Fragments - urbanRETREAT

Mary Hou

When we step out into the heart of the city, we often find ourselves surrounded by steel, concrete and masonry buildings all around us, some completely shrouded in glass.

Whilst Melbourne’s population is expected to double by 2050, nature and wellbeing programs are becoming less prevalent in our cities. Our busy, technology driven lifestyle is fuelled by a weakened sense of materiality evident in the recent inner city construction boom.

urbanRETREAT challenges the future possibilities of mass timber construction in high-rise buildings. Taking inspiration from Melbourne’s regional retreat spaces, this thesis aims to weave the qualities of the outdoors back into the urban fabric. Designing to a FAR (Floor Area Ratio) of 1:18, urbanRETREAT adopts a hybrid concrete core and timber exoskeleton structure that is visible from all angles in the CBD area. The living materiality provides a mindful outlet for city dwellers and seeks to re-envision Melbourne’s iconic skyline.