MELBOURNE • The Australian city of Melbourne looks set to boast its first skyscraper designed by the late, world-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, after the project was given the green light by the state government on Monday.
In what is being described as the city's first "destination tower", the high-rise, US$226-million (S$305- million) project will hold further significance as it is believed to be one of Hadid's final designs before her unexpected death from a heart attack at the age of 65 in March.
The Iraqi-born, British architect was regarded as the world's greatest female designer, known for her contemporary iconic architecture.
In 2004, she won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the highest international honour in the field.
She was the mastermind behind some of the world's most distinctive works, including China's Guangzhou Opera House, the London Aquatic Centre and the MAXXI museum in Rome, Italy.
Now Melbourne will join the list of major cities featuring an important work by the late starchitect.
The tower, which resembles a series of stacked vases, will rise 54 storeys in the heart of the city's CBD in Collins Street.
Ms Vanessa Bird, Victorian president of the Australian Institute of Architects, said the tower, which will be home to 420 apartments and 10,000 sq m of office and retail space, was expected to become the new tourist attraction of Melbourne.
"The drawing power and attraction of good design have a huge value to the economy," she told Fairfax Media on Monday.
The tower will include a ground- floor art space, a public plaza, a new pedestrian link and a publicly accessible terrace.
Zaha Hadid Architects' senior associate, Mr Michele Pasca di Magliano, said the company was excited by the new venture.
"We are honoured to be working with our partners in Melbourne to deliver this project for the city," he said on Monday.
"The design has been defined by Melbourne's rich and diverse urban landscape, reinterpreted in a contemporary solution driven by the logical division of its overall volume that will enhance the city's public realm with generous communal spaces."
In Australia, Hadid had also designed towers in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.