8 August 2013 — Australian/Swiss design team, HASSELL and Herzog & de Meuron, has won the Flinders Street Station Design Competition.
The winning design includes a market, art gallery, amphitheatre and plaza, making the station, according to the jury, “a destination in itself rather than solely a journey way point”.
Ascan Mergenthaler of Herzog & de Meuron said the proposal underscored “the civic nature of a train station by complementing it with cultural and public functions rather than purely commercial activities”.
“The weatherproof, articulated filigree vaulted roof-scape is a respectful yet dynamic interpretation and contextual response to the history, function and location of this very special place in the heart of Melbourne,” he said.
HASSELL’s Mark Loughnan said the proposal improved all aspects of the station transport hub and adjacent transport nodes with each of the project boundaries responding specifically to its own distinct context.
“Over the years, Flinders Street Station has been compromised by successive changes. Today it is a place that people generally choose to hurry through. Our design makes it a destination, with new buildings and features that will attract people to the precinct,” he said.
“The site was an important place in indigenous life and culture. The new art gallery will house indigenous art from Australia and the Pacific, reflecting that historical importance. The gallery will also provide a link between the arts institutions of St Kilda Road and Federation Square and the Immigration Museum and old Customs House on Flinders Street.
“After European settlement, Melbourne’s first official marketplace was near the site. We are bringing the marketplace back for the many thousands of new residents who moved into the centre of Melbourne in recent years. The public plaza and amphitheatre create new meeting places in the city.”
Michael Morrison from the London-based Purcell, who will act as heritage consultants, said it was critical that the proposal preserved Flinders Street as a working station, not a transport museum.
“The most familiar built fabric, the Flinders Street building and the corner entrance pavilion, will be unaltered, but carefully restored and brought back into public use,” he said.
“They will be painted in the original colours. The new building integrates with them by reflecting the spirit of the original design.”