Fed Square granted interim heritage protection

Heritage Victoria has issued an interim protection order for Melbourne’s Federation Square designed by Lab Architecture Studio and Bates Smart, after it accepted a nomination for the place to be added to the Victorian Heritage Register.

The revised design for the proposed Apple flagship store by Foster and Partners.

The revised design for the proposed Apple flagship store by Foster and Partners.

Image: Courtesy Federation Square

The final design for Town Hall station, Federation Square entrance, by Hassell, Weston Williamson and Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners.

The final design for Town Hall station, Federation Square entrance, by Hassell, Weston Williamson and Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners.

Image: Courtesy Victorian government

The Victorian branch of the National Trust of Australia nominated it after “significant changes proposed at Federation Square” had been unveiled in the past year, including the planned demolition of the Yarra building to make way for a Foster and Partners-designed Apple flagship store and the construction of a Metro Tunnel entrance, designed by Hassell, Weston Williamson and Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners.

Federation Square will be protected for four months or until a permanent decision about its heritage status has been made.

In granting the interim protection order, the executive director of Heritage Victoria Steven Avery determined that “there may be a prima facie case for the inclusion of this place in the Victorian Heritage Register” and that “this place is under imminent threat from approved works to facilitate the Metro Tunnel at the CBD South Precinct that may detrimentally affect its cultural heritage significance.”

The nomination of the 16-year-old site, built in 2002, has drawn raised eyebrows from members of the Victorian government. Premier Daniel Andrews told media, “It’s not what I would necessarily call a heritage asset,” while tourism minister John Eren said, “It would be unprecedented to heritage list a site that is only 16 years old, and to do so could lead to significant implications for future projects.”

However, the age of a building is not one of the criteria for heritage listing under the Heritage Act 1995.

The Victorian Heritage Register includes other significant public places in Melbourne which were added to the register at a much younger age.

The National Gallery of Victoria, designed by Roy Grounds and opened on 20 August 1968, was added to the register on its 14th anniversary in 1982. At the same time, the Victorian Arts Centre, also designed by Roy Grounds, was added to the register even before the Concert Hall (now Hamer Hall) was opened in November 1982 and Theatres Building was opened in October 1984.

Federation Square is among the most awarded projects in the history of the Victorian chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. It received four state awards and a national award for urban design.

The National Trust’s heritage nomination also has the support of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. In a statement, the chair of its heritage committee, Charles Sowerwine, said, “Melbourne has long dreamt of a civic square that would be a public space at the heart of the city, offering a meeting place open to all. Federation Square has quickly established itself as the fulfillment of that dream. In architectural terms, it embodies a remarkably coherent example of late 20th-Century architecture. In civic terms, it has become a truly public civic square.

“Both designs for the Apple store will destroy its architectural coherence and alienate its public status.

“Listing would ensure that any proposals for significant change to the square would be subject to a proper public permit process, unlike the proposals for the Apple Store to date.”

Related topics

More news

See all
Coburg Townhouses by Schored Projects for Women's Property Initiatives. Bank’s $2 billion plan to tackle housing crisis

One of Australia’s major banks will provide $2 billion in loans for providers of crisis and affordable housing.

Indicative render of proposed Power House Community Hub by John Wardle Architects. John Wardle Architects to design lakeside community centre

A new $32 million building at the edge of Melbourne’s Albert Park Lake will include a function centre, theatre and community hub.

The Atrium, part of Place Design Group's Archerfield Wetlands precinct plan. Post-industrial wasteland to become ‘immersive’ wetlands park

A former industrial site in Brisbane will be restored and rehabilitated into an adventure nature park.

First place winner: "The Gap" by Marti Fooks, Claire Winsor, Suhas Vasudeva and Jacqueline Heggli Winners revealed: The Future Park Design Ideas Competition

An “ambitious vision that combines a critique of a social injustice with a driver for landscape change in the city“ has won The Future Park …

Most read

Latest on site