Flinders Street Station Design Competition

Client  Major Projects Victoria
Competition  Open anonymous two-stage design competition
Winner  HASSELL with Herzog + de Meuron
Professor Geoffrey London, Victorian Government Architect
Professor Rob Adams, Director of City Design City of Melbourne
Caroline Bos, UNStudio
John Curtis, Lawyer Herbert Smith Freehills
George Calombaris

The Flinders Street Station Design Competition was held in an effort to rejuvenate and restore Melbourne’s iconic Flinders Street Station. The Victorian Government committed to a $1 million prize pool for an international design competition that would attract excellence in design and create a high profile development project for Victoria. The design competition was held in response to a context of growth in Melbourne with the State Government of Victoria expecting the users of the station to double by 2021. The site of Flinders Street Station covers 5.9 hectares and connects key areas of Melbourne’s CBD and major transport locations. Development of the area presented opportunity to  create new commercial and public open space in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.

Some potential impacts to Flinders Street Station were identified as patronage growth, proposed connection of Melbourne Metro CBD South Station and changing service patterns in the near future. The concept design had to allow for maximum possible scale of rail passenger transport task across all feasible service categories, flexibility to respond to emergent train technologies and changes in the mix of train and tram services.

The guiding objectives of the Flinders Street Station Design Competition were:
  • to upgrade the station to its former glory—in  the tradition of other great cities around  the world—as a Victorian and international landmark and a centrepiece of the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD);
  • to restore and protect the Administration Building and other heritage elements with adaptive reuse of areas of high public interest such as the ballroom, making them accessible to the public;
  • to improve all aspects of the transport function of the station and adjacent transport modes and cater for significant growth in transport patronage;
  • to better integrate the station with the surrounding precincts that have grown up around it and provide better linkages
  • between the CBD and the Yarra River;
  • to better utilise the land adjacent to rail and the air space above rail on the western portion of the site;
  • to provide significant civic space, while allowing for a distinctive and memorable architectural outcome, with a mix of uses
  • to provide a value-for-money solution capable of being (at least partially) self-funding

The Flinders Street Station design was to capitalise on the existing heritage of the building as well as draw on the theatre of train travel.