The Victorian Government has unveiled the six shortlisted projects for the Flinders Street Station Design, with the public encouraged to vote for their favourite for the People’s Choice Award.
The finalists for the Flinders Street Station Design Competition, selected from 117 entries, are Melbourne-based Ashton Raggatt McDougall, plus joint ventures between John Wardle Architects and Grimshaw (from Melbourne and the UK); HASSELL and Herzog & de Meuron (Melbourne and Switzerland); NH Architecture (Melbourne); Eduardo Velasquez, Manuel Pineda and Santiago Medina (from Colombia via the University of Melbourne); and Zaha Hadid Architecture and BVN Architecture.
Selecting a winner will prove difficult; the six proposed designs differ greatly but all meet the competition’s main objectives of restoring and protecting the station’s heritage, improving the transport function to cater to future growth, creating a significant civic space, and improving the integration of the station with its surrounding precincts.
Ashton Raggatt McDougall’s scheme proposes a high school in the iconic old station building as well as brand new connections to platforms, to the city centre, and to the river. It also calls for a riverwalk that wanders over water and under a green roof ecosystem for plants and birds.
“We propose to reinstate and re-invent the former glory and public significance of the station, not only restore it but to reintegrate it too, with a secondary school for senior students, a new riverwalk, allowing a sunny walk and spectacular views on the northbank of the river, and a roof garden big enough to provide habitat for our native flora and fauna,” ARM architects said.
The design by John Wardle Architects and Grimshaw is touted as being “finely tuned to its context responding precisely to the different conditions of the surrounding riverbank, Federation Square, and the city. The pattern of 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.”
This project reorients the station’s main concourse to sit alongside and within the historic fabric of the existing Administration Building, bringing it back into public use, centralising the station functions and optimising platform access to accommodate future growth demand.
HASSELL and Herzog & de Meuron’s proposal respects the heritage of the existing building, improves many aspects of the transport hub while underscoring its central civic nature and creates a new cultural and public function centre for Melbourne.
“The overall design merit of the proposal can be seen in a new, major public art gallery, public plaza, amphitheatre, marketplace, and a permanent home for arts and cultural festival organisations. But we have also delivered the glory of the first 19th Century design for Flinders Street Station,” the architects said.
NH Architecture’s proposal connects Flinders Street Station to a new future through elements drawn from the memory of this city’s citizens, seeking to capture Melbourne's nature and create a new landmark for the city and the Yarra River.
The architect’s desire is that, “[a]s a partner to Federation Square [the new project] will be the next generation ‘postcard’ for national and international visitors.”
Eduardo Velasquez, Manuel Pineda and Santiago Medina described their project as a “courtyard within a station" and said their vision maintains the site's heritage while upgrading the station to meet the demands of a modern-day train station.
"It is a project for the people where a new urban forest will become the true heart of Melbourne,” they said.
The creation of an urban park above the railway roof would turn the station into a large green public space that enhances both the everyday commuter's and the visitor’s experience of Melbourne and contribute to the city’s status as one of the world’s most liveable places.
Zaha Hadid Architecture and BVN Architecture said their project “weaves together the history of the station with a potent new form creating a new public place for the future, resolving the functional challenges and celebrating the grandeur of travel.”
“It creates a new place that embodies the urbanity of Melbourne, with its quirks, character and heritage. It is designed around a new public space that traverses the site, connecting to a reinvigorated Yarra River promenade,” they added.
The winning design as selected by both the jury and People’s Choice voters will be announced on Thursday, August 8. The People's Choice voting will run from July 23 through August 5.