Flinders Street Station designs unveiled

Designs by the six major practices shortlisted in October 2012 for the Flinders Street Station Design Competition were unveiled for public viewing by the Victorian Government on 23 July 2013, and voting opened to select the People’s Choice Award.

The six practices shortlisted from the 117 submissions are:

  • ARM Architecture (Melbourne)
  • Eduardo Velasquez, Manuel Pineda and Santiago Medina (Colombia via University of Melbourne)
  • Hassell and Herzog & de Meuron (Melbourne and Switzerland)
  • John Wardle Architects and Grimshaw (Melbourne and UK)
  • NH Architecture (Melbourne)
  • Zaha Hadid Architecture and BVN Donovan Hill (UK and Melbourne)

Their designs will be on public display at a digital kiosk in Flinders Street Station and online for People’s Choice voting, which closes on 5 August. The People’s Choice Award will be announced on 8 August, along with the jury’s verdict for the competition winner. The public will be given similar materials as the competition jury on the voting website and asked to rate the six designs on four criteria: overall design, transport function, heritage and urban design and precinct integration.

Excerpts of shortlisted design proposals

Hassell + Herzog & de Meuron: Yarra River amphitheatre and plaza.

Hassell + Herzog & de Meuron: Yarra River amphitheatre and plaza.

Hassell + Herzog & de Meuron

An urban node strengthening existing connections. The central station rejuvenation drawing on the site’s historic fabric, location and length. The heritage building is activated with a civic use to link the station and the city, with the station being opened up at the east and west ends to provide more obvious access from Flinders Street.

New elements would include an elevated connection and retail link that connects Federation Square along the river side over the southern platform to the new Western Concourse. From this location, which also links to Elizabeth Street, the station and the river, a public deck extends to provide and connect the market, public plaza and the gallery.

As part of the new public program for the building, the administration building with its historic interiors – the ballroom, gymnasium, and adjacent rooms – will all be brought back to life and into use for Melbourne Festivals, serviced by new cafes, bars, retail spaces and the new administration area for the train station. The round plaza – embraced by varied vaulted roof forms - becomes the hinge of the precinct providing a completely new and contained civic environment within the city.

ARM Architecture: The riverwalk cycle path.

ARM Architecture: The riverwalk cycle path.

ARM Architecture

The original architectural competition for the station was never itself fulfilled, its grand vaulted roof never built and its modifications ever since often uninspired or ad hoc. This vision of the focus and importance of the station is now the overarching objective of our scheme.

We now propose to reinstate and re-invent the former glory and public significance of the Administration Building, not only in the restoration of its fabric but in its integrated functions too, perhaps significantly with a secondary school for senior students not only expressing the importance of learning in Melbourne’s culture but also a public necessity of growth.

To double the capacity of station by midcentury, we propose a re-designed eastern concourse while retaining its original veranda (although replacing the roof with glass) and at the west end of the extended platforms, a new concourse integrating the city. Over this concourse are a children’s museum of art and the other a city library and language centre in conjunction with the school.

A river walk beside the Yarra creates pedestrian links and spectacular views. The Swanston Street side is reorganized with trams rolling right up at the curb, taxis integrated, and bike paths made a clear priority.

A radical solution for the west end to remove the urban blight that’s gradually developed is that Historic Queens Bridge is greened and converted to a pedestrian and bicycle bridge, and extended all the way up Market Street to make a new connection from the city’s heart to the river and Southbank.

John Wardle Architects + Grimshaw: New concourse.

John Wardle Architects + Grimshaw: New concourse.

John Wardle Architects + Grimshaw Architects

Relocating the concourse to sit alongside the historic administration building, which is re-imagined as an urban filter for north-south movement across the site.

Bridges, underpasses, vaults and park orient towards an organic movement between city and river, and are stitched together across the full length of the site.

Relocating the concourse unlocks the eastern edge of the station precinct to create an extraordinary new covered public place opposite Federation Square, above which is a new Melbourne design museum wit an expansive raking soffit opening up toward Federation Square.

The Yarra River landscape extends into the station precinct via a biodiversity ribbon widening into a new city park that extends over the rail tracks. The new park intersects with the western end of the historic Administration Building, now re-invented as a backdrop for outdoor cultural events and complementing the existing ballroom and gymnasium on the floors above which are restored to accommodate new events.

Zaha Hadid Architecture + BVN Donovan Hill: The piazza and Yarra promenade.

Zaha Hadid Architecture + BVN Donovan Hill: The piazza and Yarra promenade.

Zaha Hadid Architects + BVN Donovan Hill

A new civic and commercial destination for Melbourne, integrated with a mixed-mode transport hub. The new Flinders Street Station development knits the site into the city grid and creates a strong interface with the river. It is a new destination that embodies the urbanity of Melbourne, with its quirks, character and heritage.

The proposal is designed around a new public space that traverses the site from north to south – the piazza – connecting to a reinvigorated Yarra River promenade. The space weaves in, out and through the station, integrating the proposal with the urban fabric of the city. The potent linear form of the proposal continues to reinforce the perception of movement tacit within this transportation hub.

NH Architecture: New western entrance to station.

NH Architecture: New western entrance to station.

NH Architecture

Flinders Street Station and its wider precinct can become the host for a range of new civic spaces and places. A pedestrian bridge extending across the river from Hamer Hall and a major Station entry at its Western end suggests new urban linkages that further bind the precinct into Melbourne’s continuing evolution.

These city connections work in parallel with a rejuvenated station that retains its traditional pleinair quality. A glazed lattice roof floats above the station concourses, offering commuters weather protection and dappled daylight without interrupting the historical views of the original Station building or across the river to Melbourne’s Southbank precinct.

At the centre of this precinct is a new landmark venue: the Melbourne Room. This venue compresses the genetic DNA of the city into a room able to accommodate the cultural spill-over from Federation Square, the artistic visions of the Victorian Arts Centre, the sporting icon of the Brownlow Medal presentation or the wild and dangerous world of Circus Oz.

Part transport network, part cultural condenser and a new landmark for the Yarra River, the redevelopment of Flinders Street Station will become a partner to Federation Square as a new city focus and a next generation postcard for national and international visitors.

Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina: Rejuvenation of Banana Alley vaults.

Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina: Rejuvenation of Banana Alley vaults.

Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina

This design proposal is based around the idea of a courtyard in a station. The heritage administration building is to be preserved and its interior refurbished to become an enhanced retail destination. The historic ballroom and gymnasium are being converted into a railway museum.

At the core of this design is a new three-hectare urban park above the railway station, engaging with the southern elevation of the administration building, shrouded in a glass box, creating a vast 5,000m2 atrium with a vibrant atmosphere of restaurants, cafes, live music and dynamic activity.

A new western concourse and an extensive deck will cover the platforms. The deck will be scattered with voids allowing light, air and vegetation to extend downwards to the railway platforms. The existing eastern concourse and train platforms are to be extended to accommodate the predicted increase in passenger numbers. The increased facilities provided on the site will transform Flinders Street Station into an exciting destination rather than just a transitory transport hub as it is at present.

The re-imagined Banana Alley activates the western precinct, drawing people into the site from across Queens Bridge and all along Flinders Street, and to create a link to Esplanade Park and Batman Park from the station.

The western portion of the site is a mixed-use proposal with a boutique hotel, commercial office space, an interactive sustainability park (ISP@Y, Melbourne) while the pedestrian network across the entire precinct is improved with two additional underpasses linking Flinders Street to the Yarra River.

The international design competition was launched in November 2011 by the Victorian Coalition Government with the aim of finding the best design scheme to restore and rejuvenate Flinders Street Station. The competition jury was chaired by the Victorian Government Architect, Professor Geoffrey London, and included Professor Rob Adams and Caroline Bos (as urban designers), restaurateur/chef George Calombaris, lawyer John Curtis, architect Cassandra Fahey, heritage advisor Peter Lovell and Transport Victoria deputy secretary Gillian Miles.

View the full proposals and vote here.

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