Flinders Loop takes its inspiration from the existing Flinders Street Station itself. This building is firmly established as both a connection to the city’s Victorian past & as a much loved cultural icon. The idioms of “I’ll meet you under the clocks” & “I’ll meet you on the steps” have been used by generations of Melbournians as a means to gather & connect with each other.
Our purpose is to make Flinders Street Station transcend its place as a Melbournian landmark & become a global symbol of Victorian architecture which is moving into the future. The focal point of our purposed development is the Victorian Administration Building. All site lines & newly created forms travel towards & depart from the landmark building as it becomes not only the corner stone of the site but the precincts central hub. The development’s intention is to make Flinders Street Station more than an arrival & departure point for the Melbourne CBD. Our aspiration is for Flinders Loop to become a destination in itself.
Through the evolution of our design, we integrated symbols associated with the station. The cultural significance of the steps under the Administration Building’s main entrance is reflected through the contours of the purposed ‘Roofscape’. This structure provides civic space for the precinct & overcomes the natural barrier of the existing railway tracks by connecting the city to Yarra River & City’s Southbank. Ascending the steps of the western side of the site, the Roofscape emerges like a Victorian secret garden. This vantage point provides elevated views over the Yarra & a linear link to Federation Square.
The station’s development over the Milk Docks & Banana Alley Vaults is deliberately designed to bring the public on a journey through the grounds. As patrons pass through the Roofscape (rural) they are brought towards the multi-storey construction which acts as a gateway to Queens Bridge & high rise pathway (urban) which wraps the building allowing connections from the rivers promenade to elevated heights allowing the site to be experienced in 3 dimensions. Just as the Metro City Loop connects the public to their capital, Flinders Loop unites the city to the Yarra & Southbank.
OVERVIEW Our vision for Flinders Street Station is to create a global Victorian landmark which pays homage to Melbourne’s heritage & engages with the city’s bright future. Due to the changing demographic & population of the city, the station itself must undergo a transformation to remain the connection hub of a progressive metropolis.
Before we could develop our initial schematic for the site, we identified the existing elements which prevented the station from fulfilling its own design objectives. The main antagonist was the railway lines themselves which acted as a physical obstacle, acting as a ‘no-man’s-land’ preventing a civic interaction between the north & south bank of the river. Our design had to not only overcome this barrier but work alongside it to realise a sustainable resolution.
With the western end of the site approximately 60% of the station’s total land area, we saw the potential of creating a ‘Flinders City Quarter’ which engage the lower half of Flinders Street & create activation along the Yarra River as you travel from the Southbank the emerging Docklands to the city’s west. By creating a civic space which is easily accessible from Federation Square, the precinct becomes not only a transport hub but a cultural one too.
TRANSPORT FUNCTION The foundation of our proposal is function. As Melbourne’s busiest metropolitan hub, the Flinders Street design must aim to increase its ability to accommodate the stations projected increase of patronage. The form of the Roofscape allows passengers not only access the platforms from the station’s boundaries but also from above. In the Roofscape structure a new Western Concourse will be created to provide greater access & egress from the platforms below. This concourse will connect to the Eastern allowing an enclosed link to Swanston Street & also provide access to the Yarra River Promenade.
As outlined in the brief, our scheme has extended the platforms to 230m providing the necessary lengths needed to fully serve of a longer 9-car train. With the redevelopment of the Eastern Concourse this allows for the proposed integration of the potential Melbourne Metro underground rail line at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston streets. The design of the new Eastern Concourse will also allow a more fluid connection to other transport modes such as the bus terminals & tram stops. The implementation of the site & station’s redevelopment will be staged in a manner which allows Flinders Street to remain functional with minimal impact to the public.
HERITAGE The principal of our approach towards the legacy elements of Flinders Street is aimed to enhance, maintain and protect the heritage building and cement its future as one of Melbourne’s most iconic destinations. It is vital that the exterior would not to be compromised by the redevelopment of the site. This philosophy contributes to the buildings significance showing a clear distinction between old and new, continuing the current use and aesthetic of the building. Our design allows a previously unattainable interaction with site, enabling individuals to move up to the building and engage with its facade. The ability to sit ‘with’ the building in the proposed ‘Roofscape’ is an idea that creates an active and viable heritage site, shifting the paradigm of a heritage building.
The principles of the Burra Charter were applied for the interior of the Administration building. Original interior joinery, pressed metal ceilings and window construction are to be preserved, along with the original colour schemes. Spaces such as the Ballroom will have interiors that do not detract or diminish from the buildings significance. Our conceptual scheme for the Ballroom is a Bookstore and Cafe where the new interiors are built away from the existing walls, allowing users to engage with the existing and the new in a way that is separate. The building fabric provides a historical backdrop within the space, where detailing is highlighted via lighting, colour and individual structures, allowing for a future use that is sensitive and compatible.
PRECINCT INTEGRATION & URBAN DESIGN The key to the precinct integration is our Roofscape which acts as the CBD’s connection between Queens Bridge, Federation Square & the Yarra River. The structure rises above the existing railway tracks allowing the public to occupy a space once unattainable to them. This newly formed vantage point is framed by the backdrop of the Victorian icon becoming the CBD’s hidden garden.
The Roofscape would provide surrounding areas with a generous civic space which is accessible from not only the station but from the Southbank over the Yarra. The contours of the roof flow down towards Swanston Street allowing an engagement with Federation Square which is currently prohibited by the existing East Concourse. Our proposal includes the pedestrianisation of Swanston Street with the exception of public transport, allowing the public to easily travel between the two sites.
The form of the Roofscape provides a natural amphitheatre for street performances & public exhibitions. A level plateau permits the civic space to be used for farmer markets or other public gatherings. An extended boardwalk along the Yarra has been designed for cafes, bars & restaurants. This promenade picks up the connections from the Southbank via the Sandridge & “Coat Hanger” bridges. The precinct’s high-rise development over the Banana Valley Vaults has been identified as an area of mixed use. Through the careful balance of retail, commercial & residential the western side of the precinct could grow into the Flinders Street Quarter.
DEVELOPMENT DELIVERY Our proposed development is a significant project to undertake on a static site let alone one which must remain functional servicing an average patronage of 200,000 passengers per day. Our schematic allows a phased construction program approach to the execution of the building works. Since the platforms & concourses must remain functional throughout, it is vital that a suitable alternative is available before any works can be carried out on these areas.
The initial works to be undertaken involve the construction of the western platform which forms the base of the high-rise building adjacent to the Banana Alley Vaults. Due to the size & relocation of services in this area, this program will be the longest in duration. The narrowness at this section of the site would allow cranes to construct the primary platform. This raised area can then be used as a podium for the cranes to gain access further into the site. The mid-phases would involve the creation of the Western Concourse Platform & extension to the platforms which when completed will be able to allow passengers egress onto the lower decks whilst works are carried out on the East Concourse. The last stage would include the construction of the promenade along the Yarra & completion of the new Eastern Concourse.
COMPLIANCE STATEMENT We believe our proposal for Flinders Street Station meets the competition objectives for the following reasons. Firstly, our principal ethos for the Precinct is to establish the historic station as a Victorian & international landmark of Melbourne’s CBD. Our design places the existing Administration Building as the cornerstone of the site. All form & site lines are derived from its presence. The construction of the Roofscape enables individuals to sit with the building, bringing both bodys into the same plane. This allows the public to experience the building in its whole which is unachievable from street level or the existing platforms. The new construction would respect the elder statesman by not interfering with its facades. All junctions would be free from the existing building.
The interior of the Administration Building is to be lovingly restored to its former glory. Rooms which have been abandoned & left to decay over the years shall be re-energised by the new sense of movement through the re-opening to the public. Our proposal identifies the building as a heritage site as a whole, therefore all fit-outs & tenants of these areas must be respectful to their enclosure. Our conceptual scheme for the Ballroom has its interiors built separate from the existing walls as standalone structures, allowing users to engage with the existing and the new with distinction.
Our scheme shall improve the overall aspects of the stations transport functions whilst providing better interaction with other transport modes such as bus terminals & tram connections. By creating a secondary concourse, this will provide additional access to the elongated platforms whilst taking the pressure off existing entry & egress points from the expected increase in the stations patrons in the near future.
The utilisation of the land adjacent to the Banana Alley Vaults & Milk Dock through our proposal shall give a much needed engagement with the existing western portion of the precinct. Retail shall occupy the lower levels permitting interaction at street level which carries up to the Roofscape. Car parking will be provided in conjunction with a service zone & loading dock for both the existing train station & new development. A commercial district will also be created bringing professional workers into the area thus bringing a boost to the local economy. On top of the commercial district will rest four stories of residential apartments. The three split uses will share a common focal point at the building’s base which will form a level plateau which in turn overlooks the entire precinct & an internal courtyard. Enclosing the western building will be the Flinders Loop which transcends to all levels, allowing the general public to interact with the site on all three dimensional planes.
The proposal for development which we respectfully put forward for adjudication applies itself to the philosophy of integration between the station & the surrounding precincts which have emerged over the recent decades. Our Roofscape will provide the needed link between the CBD & across the Yarra River to the Southbank. The unique architectural conception & distinctive civic space, which is created by the formation of the contours, will enhance the stations as a popular & memorable destination to the general public. By utilising the topography of the Roofscape it will allow markets, exhibitions & performances to be held within the new precinct. The accompaniment of bars, cafes & restaurant to the Yarra Promenade along with the construction of the high-rise building will provide retail, commercial & residential, this will turn Flinders Street Station into a bustling city quarter for all to utilize & enjoy.