Commendation for Urban Design

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DESCRIPTION
This commission involves providing the basic urban infrastructure for the new development in Melbourne of 220 hectares of land around the river and Docklands. This includes vehicular, tram and pedestrian links from the existing western edge of the city, urban design features, road networks and public open space. The first section is the extension of Bourke Street over operating railway lines with a 200 metre long bridge that also connects to the country and local stations. The pedestrian bridge is on axis with Bourke Street and is located by two red glass towers, with large staircases from the pavement and a crushed wall of stainless steel through which a ramp provides disabled access from street level. Red steel antlers line the bridge, providing lighting and primary support for the stainless steel weather canopy. The western end of the bridge unfolds into a huge part ellipse that spans a new highway and cranks the pedestrian route off axis and towards the Docklands Stadium. The separation of form is accentuated with a pattern taken from Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio.

JURY VERDICT
The remarkable and memorable Gateway bridge at the western end of Bourke Street, Melbourne, will take pedestrian traffic to and from the developments slated for the Docklands, the nearby Colonial Stadium, and suburban rail transport at Spencer Street Station. Unlike the architects’ previous major urban design essay - the Eastern Freeway extension sound barriers - the bridge is to be taken in at foot rather than freeway speed and is a visually complex work. At Spencer Street steel framed fins clad in plum red laminated glass span a monumental stair and a ramped maze (for the disabled as well as Bart Simpson) and contain water and neon ladders. Above, on the wide 200 metre long bridge, red steel "antlers" support lighting and to the south a stainless steel weather canopy. The western end unfolds into a huge part ellipse (whose patterning quotes that of Michelangelo’s Capitol Square in Rome) and takes the pedestrian route off axis towards the stadium. The sculptural Gateway bridge is a dramatic earnest of what is hoped will be great architectural adventure on the Docklands.
Docklands Infrastructure
Project Architect, Design Architect, Project Manager Wood Marsh Architecture. Developer Transfield Powercorp Consortium. Structural Consultant Sinclair Knight Merz. Electrical Consultant Alston. Lighting Design Wood Marsh Architecture. Builder Transfield Construction. Photography Tim Griffith.

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Published online: 1 Nov 2000

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Architecture Australia, November 2000

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