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Six bustling new visions for Flinders Street Station have been hailed as exciting and inspirational by industry and historical experts.
Dean of Architecture at Melbourne University, Professor Thomas Kvan, said the major design competition would help Victorians imagine how the under-utilised and neglected space could be transformed.
“This has done the people of Melbourne a great service by showing us the city edge has huge potential,” Professor Kvan said.
The National Trust of Australia's Paul Roser also had plenty of praise for the six blueprints. He was especially pleased with HASSEL and Herzog & de Meuron's vaulted roof, an unrealised dream of Flinders Street Station's first design competition more than a century ago.
Mr Roser also gave his tick of approval to the John Wardle Architects and Grimshaw's use of traditional materials in double height brick vaults to house shops and businesses along an expanded Yarra river walk.
But while the trust said it wanted to see the current station building revived and restored, it also supported a strongly contemporary new vision for the site.
“The current building is strong enough and bold enough that it can withstand a modern contemporary structure,” Mr Roser said.
The competition has been criticised for not taking into account a People's Choice poll in determining the final winner.
But that's no concern for Professor Kvan, who said the assessment of the competition by a technical jury was very complicated and couldn't be measured by popular vote.
“The people's voice will be heard by influencing the development of the site,” he said.
Some have called for the station to be transformed into a “postcard” icon, but Professor Kvan and the six competitors seemed to be angling for something slightly different – a gathering place for all Victorians.
“Rather than a post-card icon, it should be a well-loved and well-treaded place,” Professsor Kvan said.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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