The Flinders Street Station Design Competition Jury met last week, during that time the six shortlisted competitors presented their designs in detail and responded questions from the jury. HASSELL + Herzog & de Meuron project has been announced as the unanimous selected winner.

Each competitor was allocated half a day in an order determined by their registration numbers. First was Competitor 1013 Ashton Raggatt McDougall; second Competitor 1014 John Wardle Architects + Grimshaw with Room 11, SKM, RBA & Urbis; third Competitor 1019 HASSELL + Herzog & de Meuron; fourth Competitor 1067 NH Architecture; fifth Competitor 1110 Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina; and last Competitor 1170 Zaha Hadid + BVN Architecture.

Submissions were analysed by a Design Brief Panel, and then a presentation and question period was held where each of the six designs responded to jury comments, to conclude with a closed jury discussion.

An additional discussion reviewed the eight key requirements that were set out in the competition brief: overall design merit; transport function; cultural heritage, iconic status and associated built form; urban design, precinct integration and associated built form; development delivery; and value for money.

flinder street station yarra river amphitheatre

Flinder Street Station – Yarra River Amphitheatre & Plaza

The jury outlined the Infrastructure Australia cost-benefit process and deliberated over an entire day to determine the winner and the allocation of the prize money. Economic benefits were discussed in detail by all members of the jury to determine that the second and third place prize money would be distributed to the five other shortlisted competitors.

Referring to the winning project, the jury reported, “The main train hall offers a celebratory experience of rail travel; its light-weight structure promises a filigree of ever-changing dappled light while providing ventilation, shelter and way-finding. The vaulted form will appeal to the universal collective memory of the great station terminuses of the past, its scale carefully referencing to the datum and continuing presence of the existing station Administration Building that forms the northern limit of the new train hall.”

flinder street station oca gallery

Flinder Street Station from South West – OCA Gallery

“The design is thoroughly considered on all levels; subtly relates to the existing buildings while it also provides strong and memorable new forms and spaces within a relatively low profile. The decision to keep the vaults low to the east was strongly supported, while increasing the height to the west strengthens the form exactly where needed.”

They also recognized that Melbourne is a city of public festivals and that the proposed expanded station by HASSELL + Herzog & de Meuron could offer a new locus for festival-related gathering.

“The gathering space of the new circular plaza as the heart of the design is an important new public place and, with its amphitheatre facing a floating stage on the Yarra, its inclusion of the river was judged to be a strong proposition. The new ramp linking Sandridge Bridge to the plaza was viewed positively,” the jury expressed.

flinder street station plaza yarra river amphitheatre

Flinder Street Station – Yarra River Amphitheatre & Plaza

Before the winner was announced, the six design submissions were released for the public to evaluate and vote in the People’s Choice Award, aiming to provide people from all over the world with an opportunity to give their feedback and opinions.

Voters had access to the same plans, images, videos and material submitted to the jury in order to make an informed choice, using a unique online voting system that ranked the projects over four key criteria: overall design merit, transport, heritage and urban design.

flinder street station from federation square

Flinder Street Station from Federation Square

The surprise was that the people’s choice did not match the jury’s selection. The winner voted by the public was Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina’s project. A design much more orientated to sustainability and green architecture.

People were also able to write comments about each project. And they stated about the People’s Choice winner: “This is the best by far. Any design that incorporates lots of greenery will be a favourite with the people of Melbourne”.

The purpose of the People’s Choice Award is to use all the feedback gathered to develop and improve the future plan for Flinders Street Station.

flinder street station interior

Flinder Street Station Interior