Australia is home to monumental skyscrapers that have redefined the way we explore, interact and experience architecture. Today, we recognise some of the tallest buildings in Australia from the past, present and all the way through to the towers that will shape our future.
September 14th, 2012
Today, the highest building in Australia is Q1 (Queensland Number One) standing at 322.5 metres high. Completed in 2005, this tower spans 78 floors and is located in Surfers Paradise on the iconic Gold Coast.
The Q1 was a collaboration between Sunland Design and The Buchan Group. For nearly two decades, it has kept its reign as the tallest residential building in Australia. When it opened to the public in 2005, Q1 triumphed the list as the tallest residential building in the world. However, 6 years later, The Marina Torch in Dubai took its place surpassing the tallest tower in Australia at a height of 336.8 metres with 79 floors above ground.
Inspired by the torch of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the remarkable form of the Sydney Opera House, the design for this residential skyscraper is a sight to be seen amidst the coastal city’s skyline. Through using intensive construction technique, the result was a sculptural form reminiscent of these iconic symbols. The building’s upswept roof form and spire is a nod to the transient shape of the torch, with its captivating crown evocative of the bold, geometric forms of the Opera House.
On level 77 and 78 is the building’s must-visit destination: the Skypoint. As Australia’s only beachside observation deck, it offers expansive 360-degree views over Surfers Paradise beach and the greater Queensland coast. Standing at 230 metres high, this is one of the biggest attractions on any tourist list in the Gold Coast.
Looking beyond the Gold Coast, Australia is home to some of the world’s tallest buildings. In the last few decades, Australia has seen its extensive list of skyscrapers gradually grow. From some of the most renowned buildings of the past; to the new, most visionary examples of architecture and design in our present and future context: the country’s capital cities revel in some extraordinarily tall towers.
Since its completion in October 2006 until late 2019, the tallest building in Melbourne was the Eureka Tower by Fender Katsalidis Architects – achieving a height of 297.3 metres high. The Eureka Tower is a 91-floor residential building that also invites locals and visitors to its observation deck on the top floors to bask in the panoramic views over the city’s skyline.
In 2020, the new 108 Tower residential building by Fender Katsilidis Architects in collaboration with Brookfield Multiplex, takes the top spot as the tallest building in Melbourne, and the second tallest tower in Australia. Standing at 316.7m high, this residential skyscraper is located in the Southbank precinct and looks out above Melbourne’s clouds in a dreamscape like no other.
Designed by New York City-based architects, Travis McEwen and Kohn Pedersen, the renowned Chifley Tower in Sydney’s central business district is the tallest building in Sydney. Completed in 1992 by Multiplex Construction, the city’s commercial skyscraper is occupied mostly by businesses in the finance and law industries.
The building spans across 53 floors and stands at a height of 244 metres in the heart of the city. Its prominent location at Chifley Square lends itself to captivating harbour views.
Nestled in the heart of the vibrant Perth CBD is Brookfield Place. Dubbed the tallest building in Perth since its completion in 2012, the 234.4 metre high tower was designed through a collaboration between Fitzpatrick + Partners and HASSELL, with construction by Brookfield Multiplex.
This iconic destination reflects world-class architecture and outstanding amenities for its commercial and several retail occupants. BHP is the major tenant of Brookfield Place, alongside other tenants including PwC, Allianz, Barrick Gold, Navitas and Servcorp.
Taking bronze on the list of the highest buildings in Australia, Aurora Melbourne Central is a residential skyscraper that reaches 270.5 metres high across 86 storeys. Completed in 2019, the building was developed by Malaysian-based group, UEM Sunrise and designed by Elenberg Fraser.
Situated along the bustling Mary Street in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD, the Brisbane Skytower is a 269.5 metre high skyscraper by Billbergia and AMP Capital. Spanning across 90 floors, this residential tower offers extraordinary views of the city’s waterfront attraction.
Designed by HASSELL, 120 Collins Street is a commercial tower that stands tall at 265 metres high in the heart of Melbourne. Completed in 1991, the building is one of the top 10 tallest buildings in Australia. Evocative of the architecture and design of the Art Deco era, the building’s recognisable façade is inspired by the iconic structures of New York City.
120 Collins Street includes a list of high-profile tenants including the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Rothschild, Knight Frank, Mitsubishi, Morgan Stanley and much more.
Amongst these, some Australian buildings are currently under construction, but are on the road to redefining the architectural landscape of our cities.
Looking towards the future, some of the greatest design minds have created residential, commercial and mixed-use skyscrapers that are set to take the current titles of some of the tallest buildings in Australia.
The Crown, Sydney
Taking prime location in the city’s most sought-after waterfront precinct of Barangaroo, Crown Sydney offers the new, elegant and premier destination for the city of Sydney. Devised by some of the world’s exceptional architects, designers and developers, Crown Sydney reimagines the way we live, play and indulge – taking the art of residential living to new heights.
Across an impressive 75 floors of retail and hospitality venues, extraordinary residential apartments and spa, Crown Sydney towers over the Sydney harbour at a height of 271.3 metres, making it the tallest building in Sydney and the fourth spot on the list of the highest buildings in Australia.
Spearheaded by Crown Resorts shareholder, James Packer in collaboration with Blainey North for interior design and WilkinsonEyre architects, Crown Sydney celebrates the beauty of the city with a decade-defining architectural masterpiece.
One of the most anticipated architecture masterpieces across the Australian skyline is the Southbank by Beulah project. After a six month global search of exemplary craft and design ingenuity, the winning project of Green Spine by UNStudio and Cox Architecture takes its pride of place in the multi-billion dollar site in Melbourne’s bustling Southbank precinct. Its ingenious design is set to disrupt the city’s architectural narrative – with a distinctive spiral form protruding from the heart of the city.
Currently in its proposal stage, this decade-defining proposal will be opened as a mixed-use lifestyle precinct housing private residences; state-of-the-art commercial offices; a holiday resort; entertainment venues; retail and hospitality destinations; a health and wellness centre to name a few.
Compared to Crown Sydney, the multi-faceted venue is set to become the tallest building in Australia to date with an impressive height of 356.20 metres high – reaching over 80 metres higher than the Crown and about 34 metres higher than the current highest building in Australia. Offering remarkable views across Melbourne’s skyline, the Future Botanic Garden will be a sought-after destination to visit and the crown to the biggest skyscraper in this country’s architectural landscape.
Taking the top spot of the tallest building in the world is the famous Burj Khalifa. Located in Dubai, this prestigious architectural masterpiece stands at a vast height of 828.8 metres high with a total of 163 floors. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), this building has a long-lasting reputation amongst locals and tourists alike.
Compared to the list of tallest buildings in Australia, its total height surpasses the country’s tallest by over 500 metres. Completed in 2019, ts towering structure is an extraordinary feat of modern day architecture and design as a mixed-use building with the world’s highest outdoor observation deck – making it one of the most visited tourist attractions across the globe.
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