Hassell and Herzog & de Meuron just won a competition with their plans to renovate Melbourne’s nineteenth-century Flinders Street Station. Beating out competition like Zaha Hadid, Grimshaw, and Eduardo Velasquez, Herzog & de Meuron and Hassell's proposal includes a new daylit, barrel-vaulted roof structure, a new public art gallery, a public marketplace, an amphitheater, and a plaza for cultural events. The architects were awarded a $500,000 prize, and the Victorian Government will now decide whether to proceed with construction of the design.
On the architectural design side of this winning design entry, Herzog & de Meuron and Hassell celebrated the rail travel experience by creating a barrel-vaulted space made from light-weight structural components. The design of the skin of the barrels provides a parametrically designed form with holes that help move natural ventilation and daylight throughout the space. This will help to reduce the energy needs of the building. The design team mixed the natural form of the great station terminuses of the past with the new parametrically influenced design of today.
The new Flinders Street Station design will sit between two historic buildings facing Swanston Street, therefore respect for the contextual nature of the site was taken by the design team. The design team made a statement on their website explaining one of the most important aspects of their competition piece. “Our proposal respects the heritage, improves all aspects of the transport hub, and underscores its central civic nature with new cultural and public functions for all residents and visitors to Melbourne”. The judges praised this scheme for integrating all aspects of the design with the original station design. Herzog & de Meuron and Hassell recognized the importance of culture and heritage, and played well into the judges’ desires.