Prahran Square

Prahran Square

Architect
Lyons
Location
Izett Street, Prahran, VIC, Australia | View Map
Project Year
2019
Category
Parks/Gardens

Urban Green Spaces

Cities
Stories By
Lyons

RAMUS
John Gollings

Prahran Square

Lyons as Architects

Prahran Square is one of Australia’s largest national open air plaza projects, marking a symbolic transformation for the community. The pre-existing carpark was transformed into a diverse realm accommodating the ebb and flow of each day through multi-modal landscape spaces combined, creating a unique framework for community use and occupation. 

photo_credit Peter Bennetts
Peter Bennetts

The design for Prahran Square met two critical client objectives: creating a safe and flexible public open space and providing a solution for increased local carparking.  By removing carparking from the ground plane and creating 500 car spaces in two levels of underground carparking directly below the Square, the design created the opportunity for the new urban space that is Prahran Square.

photo_credit Peter Bennetts
Peter Bennetts

Further design information:
The edges of the square rise and fall to form a continuous ‘ribbon’ that creates a unique urban streetscape that cleverly accommodates the carpark entry portal, stair access, retail opportunities, community spaces and service areas. The ribbons dramatic architectural form allows natural light to permeate into the car park below, facilitating visual connections to the street. This increased visibility and clear wayfinding were key to prioritising pedestrian safety. Importantly this design strategy also creates an ‘interior’ landscape sanctuary, which is sheltered from the constant vehicular traffic of the surrounding streets, ensuring that the space is prioritised for people as a unique asset of the community unsullied by retail commercialisation and cars.

photo_credit Peter Bennetts
Peter Bennetts

The arrangement of this ‘interior’ landscape is based on a range of uniquely themed spaces, each contributing a different value to the community. They define a diverse series of experiences including a local mudstone ‘Forest’, a ‘Sensory Garden’, a ‘Lawn’ and ‘The Terraces’ all facing a high quality central square that becomes an adaptable platform for a range of events from daily use to large community gatherings. Each of these is distinguished by four open corners, that demarcate and connect spatial gateways to the adjacent precincts of Prahran Market, Chapel Street, Greville Street and Grattan Gardens. Further reinforcing this design logic are ‘The Pipes’. An immersive digital art installation by Ramus and Material Thinking which can be found in all four corners of the square. The artwork is comprised of several large, needle shaped poles that display abstract moving imagery together with engaging soundscapes that gently welcome and beckon people into Prahran Square 24-hours a day.

photo_credit Peter Bennetts
Peter Bennetts

The space also meets sustainability objectives. An interactive multi-jet water feature, which uses recycled water is embedded at the centre of the square. The central water feature is popular with children and creates a focal point where passers-by and strangers can easily engage around this lively feature. A diverse mix of native and exotic planting is used throughout the project reflecting the eclectic nature of the community. Low water use and drought-tolerant species were prioritised to reduce watering requirements and improve biodiversity. Bicycle parking and public transport networks are in close proximity, with parking spots nominated for electric vehicle charging. Prahran Square as a hybrid typology, combining urban park, square, streets, carpark and retail spaces and by this definition its uses are varied. It is designed for encounters ranging from intimate to large scale events. Prahran Square has already transformed a community, highlighting the contribution and true potential of Urban Design. The appreciation for the Square will be realised over time as it matures, and the community make it their own.

photo_credit Peter Bennetts
Peter Bennetts
photo_credit Peter Bennetts
Peter Bennetts
Caption
Caption
Caption

The Pipes - Prahran Square

RAMUS as Lighting Design / Pole Design / Video Design / Visual Content / Interactive Design / Programming / Control System / Music

Our latest digital art installation is The Pipes, an immersive digital forest of visuals and soundscapes unique to this environment.

Our digital art installation was inspired by Prahran’s environment and history, mixed with the possibilities we could collaboratively envision for this new civic space. The Pipes form an immersive digital forest, consisting of visuals and a soundscape unique to Prahran that gently calls, welcomes and beckons people into the space.

photo_credit Mark Robert Dickson
Mark Robert Dickson

A 24-hour content rhythm was curated to the space. Slowly evolving, visual textures were drawn from the surrounding area and mixed with abstract expressions of light. Dynamically generated scenes are spread across The Pipes.  Calming scenes of the ocean, wetlands, forest and the desert slowly move and respond to the time of day, season, weather and movement of people around the poles base. Lingering soundscapes of birds, street sounds, textile production and water sampled from the local area fill the space. Lastly, at noon, the familiar ‘Cooee’ can be heard. 28 11m-tall interconnected poles were dispersed through four corners of Prahran Square. Each pole is covered in thin panels of high-res LEDs. Every moment presents a new immersive experience.

Caption

This immersive work offers a feeling of respite from the busy pace of the surrounding area, creating a gentle space where people can pause, reflect and connect with one another.

Project Credits
Architects
Lighting Design / Pole Design / Video Design / Visual Content / Interactive Design / Programming / Control System / Music
Landscape Architects
Photographers
Photographers
Product Spec Sheet

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