Recently, the shortlist for the Flinders Street Station Competition was released; the Swiss firm Herzog + De Meuron, working in conjuncture with HASSELL, were among the finalists, and were possessing of one of the more compelling submissions.

Arch2o-Proposal Flinders Street Station Competition-Herzog + De Meuron (31)

                 Courtesy of Herzog + De Meuron

Comprising a network of long-running barrel vaults, there is a refreshing amalgam of old and new which takes place in the design. The aspect which sets the scheme apart is that this interesting chimera exists entirely in the newly proposed parts of the station.

Arch2o-Proposal Flinders Street Station Competition-Herzog + De Meuron (29)

Courtesy of Herzog + De Meuron

There is of course, an exchange with the historic buildings already existent on the site- the ballroom, gymnasium, and interior spaces of the administration building have been re-appropriated for use in Melbourne-based festivals. But the newly designed station feels old. It is difficult to qualify this sensation. There is something that is instantly identifiable as both contemporary and historic in those barrel vaults; they speak of a time when buildings not only functioned, but soared… and the gods were architects.

Arch2o-Proposal Flinders Street Station Competition-Herzog + De Meuron (35)

Courtesy of Herzog + De Meuron

The proposal’s face to the public is a grand plaza and amphitheater which faces the river’s edge. It is a site for picnic seating, performance events of all types, and of course- entry. The linearity of the structure is broken by this turn towards the river; the whole station- both sides- seems to execute a subtly curving gesture in its direction.

Arch2o-Proposal Flinders Street Station Competition-Herzog + De Meuron (37)

Courtesy of Herzog + De Meuron

The station will not only function to its name- it will also contain a world-class gallery for contemporary and oceanic arts, a local produce market, retail and restaurant locations, as well as something as simple as a sheltered locale for those seeking to escape the Australian sun and elements.

By Matt Davis

Courtesy of Herzog + De Meuron

Leave a Reply