British architecture practice Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners will join the consortium appointed to design and build Melbourne’s $11 billion Metro Tunnel rail project.
A spokesperson for the Cross Yarra Partnership consortium told ArchitectureAU, “Cross Yarra Partnership have engaged Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners to join existing joint venture partners Hassell and Weston Williamson to assist in development of the architectural design for Australia’s largest city making project, the Metro Tunnel.” Hassell is also acting as landscape architect for the project.
The project will comprise twin nine-kilometre-long tunnels through the centre of Melbourne that will link the Cranbourne/Pakenham line in Melbourne’s south east to the Sunbury line in the north west.
It will also include five underground stations. Conceptual designs released in July 2017 indicated that each will be designed with its own distinct characteristics as well as common features such as large skylights to draw natural light into he station concourse and platforms, and materials such as bluestone, timber, steel and glass.
The project will also include upgrades to the public spaces above ground at the stations.
At Arden station, which will be located near the flood-prone Moonee Ponds Creek, the landscape design proposes an “urban sponge” strategy to absorb storm water, which will include elements such as rain gardens, tree planters and permeable paving. The station is set to be a catalyst for an estimated $7 billion of urban development at an adjacent 56-hectare site, currently industrial land largely owned by the government. A draft framework for the redevelopment was released in September 2016.
The proposed station at Parkville will connect the area to the rail network for the first time. Parkville is home to the University of Melbourne as well as a number of medical and research institutions. Medicinal plants used in Indigenous and western cultures will be planted around the station.
Two stations in the CBD will be “designed as giant auditoriums of grand proportions,” with conceptual images showing vaulted ceilings. Five buildings on Swanston Street near Flinders Street station will be demolished for the construction of the CBD South station. Nine buildings in the CBD have been acquired by the Metro Tunnel Project.
At Domain station, the design will reflect the surrounding parkland and landmarks such as the Shrine of Remembrance. The station will be integrated with an above-ground train-tram exchange, where passengers will be protected from the elements by a floating timber canopy.
Early work on the tunnel has already begun with major construction to commence at the start of 2018. The project is expected to be completed by 2026.
The consortium appointed by the government is led by Lendlease Engineering, John Holland, Bouygues Construction and Capella Capital.