HASSELL + Herzog & de Meuron has been announced as the winning team for the Flinders Street Station Design Competition held by the Victorian Coalition Government. 

Victorian premier Denis Napthine reports that the jury was unanimous in its decision, with the design said to offer “a beautiful and compelling integration of aspects of the original station design, strongly reinforcing its gateway status”, while connecting the city to the north of the river and Southbank, and opening up views and access to the historic Administration Building.

The proposal submitted by the local and Swiss firms features new or improved concourses keeping pedestrian activity in mind, as well as a series of weather-proof vaulter roofs which will flood the train platforms with natural light and ventilation the main highlight of the design.

The vaulted forms were informed by the unrealised proposal of the station’s original architects, Fawcett and Ashwroth.

“The proposal to relate platforms to individual roof vaults was considered to be a very strong and intelligent strategy, enabling passengers to recognise ‘my vault for my train.’ At the same time the vaults assemble into a coherent roof for the entire train hall. In this way, the practical and conceptual work together effectively,” noted the jury.

While some transport function issues were not fully resolved by the design, the panel believes that they can be addressed without compromising the overall idea, which includes the creation of a new major public art gallery, public plaza, amphitheatre, marketplace, and a permanent home for arts and cultural festival organisations.

All six competing entries were judged on:

  • Overall design merit;
  • Transport function;
  • Cultural heritage, iconic status and associated built form;
  • Urban design, precinct integration and associated built form;
  • Development delivery; and
  • Value for money

Acknowledging the high quality of all six shortlisted proposals, the jury also agreed that the second and third place prize money should be distributed evenly to the other five shortlisted entries.

While HASSELL + Herzog & de Meuron took home the winning prize, Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina, graduates from the University of Melbourne originally from Colombia, stole the hearts of the public, winning the competition’s People Choice Award.

Minister for Major Projects David Hodgett says it was a “fairy tale win” for the trio, who competed against established local and international names.

Based on comments lodged with online votes, the open park provided on the roof of Velasquez, Pineda and Medina’s submission, and the ways it integrated with Federation Square, proved particularly popular.

“Love the way they used gardens and have created a pedestrian way across to Fed Square. Love that they have not overwhelmed or lessened the integrity of the current heritage building,” said one voter.

A total of 18, 974 people from 161 countries participated in rating each of the six shortlisted designs via an online voting system.

John Wardle Architects + Grimshaw came second in the People’s Choice Award, while the judges’ winner, HASSELL + Herzog & de Meuron, came third. NH Architecture came fourth, with proposals by Ashton Raggatt McDougall and BVN Donovan Hill with Zaha Hadid Architecture coming fifth and sixth respectively.

The feedback gathered through the voting for the People’s Choice component of the competition will be used to develop and refine future plans for the station. For the full jury report, please visit www.vote.majorprojects.vic.gov.au.