Flinders Street Station Design Competition
The Atelier Red + Black proposed redevelopment respects what Flinders Street Station means to Melbournians. First and foremost Flinders Street Station is iconic and this proposed design will ensure this most important Melbourne landmark will remain so.
The top image highlights the improvement that the new eastern concourse and dynamic canopy will provide the station. The undulating and organic forms provide a new aspect to Melbourne’s most photographed building that does justice to its iconic design.
Quality outdoor urban spaces with active edges and high level amenity allow for both pedestrian movement and congregation. One such congregation space is an urban campfire which will provide a uniquely Australian meeting place for an urban context.
The proposed design will also build on Melbourne’s strengths as a cultural capital by the inclusion of a new Gallery of Urban Art (GUA) at the on the Western end of the precinct. The GUA will be housed in a mixed use building which includes restaurants at podium level and residential levels above.
The project will also have substantial social benefits through the inclusion of the Melbourne Community Centre. This centre will have allocated space for Non-Profit Organizations such as the Reach foundation which target youth engagement. Also housed within this building will be podium level retail tenancies, an auditorium, child care facilities and a roof top garden. Importantly no gambling facilities will replace the one to be removed on Swanston Street.
This design will greatly enhance the current transport function of the station in several ways. Platforms will have quality access from both the eastern and western ends, whilst the diagonal bridge will also allow improved access around the station and importantly passive surveillance of the platforms.
As shown in the image below, the platforms will be uncluttered and naturally lit by the spectacular transparent canopy above. The master plan will allow the station to better integrate with the tram network on Flinders Street. It is recommended that serious consideration should be given to connecting the Elizabeth street tram network with Flinders street, to enable the provision of a more integrated tram network
This proposal has left the administration building without significant change. This leaves the proposed Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel (MMRT) connection point free. Similarly future platform extensions also remain viable.
The proposal has also left space for a future bicycle path connection beside the Viaduct to Southern Cross Station and Docklands
The Administration Building has been left completely free of alterations in order for a full restoration process to occur. This building holds too much heritage value for anything less.
The eastern concourse will retain the heritage canopy structure and lighting, however a new glass roof will allow light further into the new atrium space behind. This new space is made of an undulating metallic form, which respects the key view lines and most importantly does not overpower the administration building.
Views to the administration building from the train platforms will be enhanced by the removal of the sheet metal roofing above the platforms. The new transparent canopy has been designed to provide a minimum deficit to existing view-lines.
The Milk Dock has been sensitively altered to facilitate mass vertical transport to the new podium level. It will maintain its street presence as shown in the image below. The structure above has been carefully designed to have a minimum impact on the views from the western end of Flinders Street to the administration building. The western End of the Milk Dock will be restored and clad to form new office space attached the Melbourne Community Building
The Banana Alley Vaults will be utilized as lobbies for the proposed buildings above. Their facades will remain prominent and clearly visible as shown.
Urban Design and Precinct Integration
The key driver of the urban design and master plan is to enable convenient pedestrian access across and throughout the site. The station will be better suited to handling large influxes of pedestrians from Melbourne’s famous venues such as the MCG. The vertical transport hubs on the northern and southern boundaries will allow efficient access to the elevated podium level.
The proposed design has been highly respectful of the significant view lines identified in the brief. Perspective images throughout the presentation all identify clear view lines to the administration building.
The New Eastern Concourse will provide a substantial visual improvement to the station as viewed from Federation Square. It will also enable greater views outwards as the ceiling is higher and a large section of the historic canopy will be re-clad with glazing
The western end of the site will be serviced by a new pedestrian street which in the future could extend beyond the site, potentially creating a connection through to to Docklands. The Gallery of Urban Art (below) provides a destination at the end internal pedestrian street. Restaurants at podium level and apartments and offices above will ensure activity and passive surveillance of the space.
In 2012 Atelier Red + Black submitted the following entry into the Flinders Street Station Design Competition under the name The Red + Black Architect. This was a solo effort, undertaken outside business hours, to investigate what was possible.