Going up Down Under: Southern Hemisphere's tallest building

Going up Down Under: Southern Hemisphere's tallest building

The 388-meter futuristic Australia 108 in Melbourne will become a record holder, for a short while at least

The impressive and somewhat gravity defying Australia 108 building. Planning approval has been given for Australia 108, a 388-meter skyscraper in the Victorian city of Melbourne that will be the tallest building in the southern hemisphere.

That boast may not last too long with a taller building in South Africa set to be completed in 2018 -- the same year Australia 108 is due to complete.

Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy this week approved plans for the US$622 million project, which will be built on the city's Southbank Boulevard.

When complete, it'll surpass Melbourne's Eureka Tower (297 meters) and overthrow Q1 (322 meters) in Queensland's Gold Coast as the tallest building in the southern hemisphere.

More on CNN: 20 of the world's most iconic skyscrapers

Australia 108's designers were behind Melbourne's current tallest building.
Construction is expected to begin early 2014 and it will take three to four years to build, according to an Australia 108 representative.

The design, by Fender Katsalidis Architects (who also designed Eureka Tower), will feature 108 floors of residential apartments, recreation facilities, a "six-star luxury hotel" and a sky bar on the top floor that resembles a glass cube suspended between two pillars near the pinnacle.

“Australia 108 has the ability to define Melbourne and signify our coming of age as a dynamic and progressive international city," said Nonda Katsalidis, co-designer of the tower.

"Nothing like this exists in our part of the world.”

The hotel's sky lobby hangs out of the main building. When looked at from afar, the middle section looks like it's hovering in mid-air (refer to top picture).
The hotel will be located from level 83 and house 288 rooms. At that height the view will be impressive despite Melbourne's notoriously unpredictable weather.

The design of the lobby on level 83 will appear to be hovering over the city. In addition to the two restaurants and bars, the lobby will feature an observatory lounge with sections of glass floor for brave souls hoping to see the ground from above.

Most of the recreation facilities, including the sky bar and observatory lounge, will be available to the public while other areas will be reserved for residents and guests only.

Details on who will operate the hotel are yet to be released.

Don't look down. The sky lobby's observatory lounge features sections of glass floor.

Hiufu Wong is CNN Travel's staff writer.

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