Flinders Street Station is the oldest railway station in Australia with current traffic at 150000 travellers, daily users of both city and suburban lines. The main building with the prominent cupola, port openings, a tower and clocks, is a symbol of Melbourne. How to bring it up-to-date and improve the station’s functionality all the while sustaining its vital importance to the city, how to preserve the historical nature of the building developed in 1910, and is currently a protected cultural heritage site, as well as other ways in which to integrate and revitalize the surrounding areas, are just a few questions posed by the international competition for renovating this iconic station, released in 2011. Among the competition guidelines regarding the project that should revitalize the area and influence the worldwide positioning of the city, it has been clearly emphasized that the architectural solution needs to provide a new multi-purpose public area.
From 118 submitted solutions, the following competitors made the short-list: Ashton Raggatt McDougall (Melbourne), John Wardle Architects and Grimshaw (Melbourne and UK), HASSELL and Herzog & de Meuron (Melbourne and Switzerland), NH Architecture (Melbourne), Eduardo Velasquez, Manuel Pineda, Santiago Medina (Colombia via University of Melbourne) and Zaha Hadid Architecture and BVN Architecture (UK and Melbourne). As citizens’ participation was an important factor in making the final decision, the finalists’ projects were presented in great detail on the Victorian Government website, and everyone had the chance to express their respective opinions for each project in four categories (overall design impressions, transport functionality, cultural heritage and zoning solution as well as spatial integration). Information obtained through this voting will act as guidelines for the station’s development and future, and it will also be reviewed by an expert council before announcing the final decision of the competition winner, expected on August 8th.
Such a public competition which views the need for city development by improving the quality of public services and content for citizens through quality architecture and zoning, while taking users’ thoughts and opinions into consideration is an example that should be implemented by our city authorities when they release big competitions. Perhaps in Split, where the current candidate in office promised development of the east coast during his campaign, and considering that it’s every Mayor’s mission to fix up at least one coast in Split, this project could very well soon commence.
Click here for more on how competitions are carried out in Melbourne.