The dreams of many an architect have come true with the state government’s announcement that a design competition will be held in order to “breathe new life into a Melbourne landmark”. That landmark in question would be Melbourne’s most iconic feature, Flinders Street Station. In addition to the incredible challenge of undertaking a restoration of the great building, the competition holds a $1 million prize pool.
In a statement regarding the competition, premier Ted Baillieu cites the city’s precinct orientated planning mentality as the catalyst for the full-scale renewal competition.
“We are looking for the world’s best ideas to restore and reinvigorate the Flinders Street Station precinct, including the station concourse, platforms and historic administration building and through to the Banana Alley Vaults and Queensbridge,” says Baillieu, “this precinct calls for creative brilliance from across the globe so a Melbourne landmark site can be restored to its full potential. This competition will harness the very best ideas and help bring the precinct back to life”.
In addition to bringing this area, as well as the station at large, up to new building code standards, the main goal for the winning submittal will be the aforementioned ability to create communication between Flinders Street Station and surrounding precincts. Over the past ten years, the City of Melbourne have put in an enormous industry effort to update areas from federation square, across to the current Southbank redevelopment, and a link between these new precincts is paramount to the Premier.
“We see a rejuvenated Flinders Street Station as a partner to Federation Square, forming a new gateway public space for Melbourne and embracing potential major improvements to the Yarra’s northern bank and the CBD-river pedestrian routes” he says.
The state government have outlaid further areas under which the winning submission will be judged. These include:
- returning the station to its former glory and re-using under-utilised areas;
- restoring and protecting the station’s heritage;
- improving the transport function of the station, catering for future growth;
- creating a significant civic space while allowing for a distinctive and memorable architectural outcome with a mix of uses;
- better integrating the station with its surrounding precincts; and
- providing a value-for-money solution.
The space to feature as the key element for the refurbishment is the four-storey administration building. At 250 metres by 10 metres, the space, which is partly occupied by Metro Trains Melbourne, has been for the most part unoccupied since the 1970’s.
“After years of neglect, the administration building has been left derelict while access and facilities are well below an acceptable standard” says Baillieu.
This will be an important focus for redevelopment, as it stands as a waste of space in one of the busiest sectors of Melbourne.
While key areas for redevelopment have been highlighted, the entire 4.7 hectare space is open for designers to work on, keeping in mind the icon status of the building; its heritage nature inciting the term ‘refurbishment’ rather than reconstruction.
The judging panel will include both esteemed architects and city planners strictly run under the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) guidelines.
Designs for the competition can be submitted by mid-2012, to be reviewed with shortlisted projects to be resubmitted in more detail in early 2013.
The public nature of the competition is an incredibly insightful move by the government, as the station is arguably the most recognisable symbol of Victoria and public interest in the workings of the redevelopment will be apparent.
For more information on the competition visit www.mpv.vic.gov.au