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Dame Edna puts boot into Flinders Street Station contest winner

Melbourne-born comedian Barry Humphries has slated Herzog & de Meuron and Hassell’s winning design for the revamp of the city’s landmark Flinders Street Station

The 79-year-old Dame Edna Everidge actor wrote a critical poem for the Herald Sun about the proposed overhaul of the historic station.

He labels the new-look station, designed by the Swiss practice in conjunction with Australian firm Hassell, as ‘a huge industrial drain’.

Nearly 120 practices entered the competition to rejuvenate, restore and upgrade the city’s station, with a fifth coming from the UK.

As well as reworking the platforms, the winning design features an amphitheatre by the Yarra river, a marketplace and an art gallery.

Victoria premier Denis Napthine said: ‘The jury was unanimous in its decision… [the design] is a beautiful and compelling integration of aspects of the original station design, strongly reinforcing its gateway status.’

But Humphries told the Herald Sun: ‘What is the point of it? I quite like the facade that is already there.

‘Now looking at the station from Elizabeth Street will be like looking at a huge drainpipe.’

Read the full poem here.

Previous story (AJ 07.08.2013)

Herzog & de Meuron and HASSELL win Flinders St Station contest

Herzog and de Meuron has seen off an impressive shortlist, which included Zaha Hadid and Grimshaw, to win the contest to overhaul Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station

Collaborating with Australian giants HASSELL, the Swiss stars came up with a vision for the 1854 landmark station which, as well as reworking the platforms, features an amphitheatre by the Yarra River, a marketplace and an art gallery.

Nearly 120 practices entered the competition to rejuvenate, restore and upgrade the city’s station with a fifth of those registering for the State Government of Victoria-backed contest coming from the UK.

The premier of Victoria Denis Napthine said: ‘The jury was unanimous in its decision… [the design] is a beautiful and compelling integration of aspects of the original station design, strongly reinforcing its gateway status.’

Napthine added: ‘The proposal offers tremendous benefits to Victorians, connecting the city to the north with the river and Southbank while, at the same time opening up views and access to the historic administration building.’

Though the victorious team will take home nearly £600,000 in prize money, the state government has not yet committed to delivering the £1 billion project.

The people’s vote went to Columbians Eduardo Veasquez, Manuel Pineda and Santiago Medina who are now based with the University of Melbourne. The team planned to build an urban park above the railway roof.

Previous story (AJ 23.07.2013)

Revealed: Shortlisted designs in Flinders St Station contest

The shortlisted designs, including schemes by Zaha Hadid, Grimshaw and Herzog and de Meuron, have been revealed in the international contest to overhaul Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station

Concepts by the trio have gone on show to the public alongside proposals by fellow finalists Ashton Raggatt McDougall from Melbourne, local outfit NH Architecture and Columbians Eduardo Veasquez, Manuel Pineda and Santiago Medina who are now based with the University of Melbourne.

Nearly 120 practices entered the competition to rejuvenate, restore and upgrade the 1854 station with a fifth of those registering for the State Government of Victoria-backed contest coming from the UK.

The project which includes extending platforms, improving circulation, adding new civic space and integrating the development into the surrounding city while ‘respecting the historical presence of the main dome, the Elizabeth Street clocktower and the administration building.’

Already the busiest railway station in Victoria with more than over 150,000 people passing through the station every day, Flinders Street expect its passenger numbers to triple by 2021.

The finalists

  • Ashton Raggatt McDougall (Melbourne)
  • John Wardle Architects (Australia) + Grimshaw (UK)
  • HASSELL (Melbourne) + Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland)
  • NH Architecture (Melbourne)
  • Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina of Columbia via the University of Melbourne
  • Zaha Hadid Architecture (UK) & BVN Architecture (Melbourne)

Voting has also opened for the People’s Choice Award - the poll closes on Monday 5 August. Click here to rate the six schemes.

The jury’s winner and the people’s victor will be announced on 8 August.

Previous story (AJ 16.10.2012)

Zaha shortlisted in Melbourne station comp

Zaha Hadid, Grimshaw and Herzog and de Meuron have been named among the six finalists in the international competition to rejuvenate Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station

The shortlist also includes Australian practices Ashton Raggatt McDougall, NH Architecture and Columbians Eduardo Veasquez, Manuel Pineda and Santiago Medina from the University of Melbourne.

Nearly 120 entries were received for the competition, which asked for designs to address the station’s transport function, heritage requirements, urban design context. A fifth of architects registering for the competition, run by the State Government of Victoria were from the UK.

Denis Napthine, Australian minister for major projects, said: ‘This competition has always been about finding the best local and international talent to re-invigorate Melbourne’s iconic Flinders Street Station precinct and looking at this shortlist I think we’ve managed to do that.

‘The short list covers some of the world’s best architects such as Hassell + Herzog & De Meuron and Zaha Hadid, renowned local firms Ashton Raggatt McDougall and NH Archtiecture and emerging talents Eduardo Velasquez, Manuel Pineda and Santiago Medina from Columbia.

‘Between them, this group is responsible for some of Melbourne and the world’s most renowned buildings including Hamer Hall, Beijing’s National Stadium used in the 2008 Olympics and Rome’s Museum of XXI Century Arts.

‘Judging from their previous work this is a very exciting group of architects and I am looking forward to finding out more about their visions for the Flinders Street Station precinct.’

The shortlisted entrants now have six months to work up their proposals, before the second stage of the competition closes in July 2013.

The finalists

  • Ashton Raggatt McDougall (Melbourne)
  • John Wardle Architects (Australia) + Grimshaw (UK)
  •  HASSELL (Melbourne) + Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland)
  •  NH Architecture (Melbourne)
  •  Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina of Columbia via the University of Melbourne
  •  Zaha Hadid Architecture (UK) & BVN Architecture (Melbourne)

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