Development over CBD metro stations – Young & Jackson’s and City Square

Young & Jackson’s

After they’ve finished the metro station entrance behind Young & Jacksons, the planning allows for a 10-12 storey building (up to the 40m height limit) wrapping right around (with a 6m gap next to the Nicholas Building). I’d much prefer we keep this view of old side walls intact, and allow just 3 or 4 floors, a nice arcade would do. But I also thought maybe you could make a new building fit in, by designing it with light wells, lift shafts and plain side walls, like older buildings around town. I’m also wistful about the neon signs that clusters here from the 40s-70s, so I’ve put some of them in too ! I’m doubtful a developer would do anything like this though. I’m half expecting a boring office block design to be announced any moment ☹️. My sketches based on streetview, the development envelope found on line, and last image is c1969, #AngusOCallaghan.

Update : the developer is Lendlease, reportedly as a perk of their metro contract (they are the lead of the consortium), and their architects are Hassell with Rogers, Stirk Harbour; no news on scale or use.

1969, Angus O’Calaghan

4 December 2022

This is what’s proposed for the Melbourne Metro site behind Young & Jackson’s, and it’s my worst fear- a big gridded office block completely filling the allowable envelope (with shops and walk throughs at ground level). It’s nicely detailed in textured concrete and bronze, fine anywhere else, but this site deserves more than polite contemporary wrapping. It’s going to the City of Melbourne on Tuesday, but they can only comment, the final decision resting with the minister for planning Lizzie Blandthorn (who?). The CofM planners like it though, stating it has ‘exceptional design quality through response to context’ (??!!). There’s guidelines as well but I don’t see any mention anywhere of how important and visible the site is; nothing about being a city gateway, nothing about breaking down the mass, nothing about looming over Y&Js. There was to have been a library or gallery at first floor, but ‘subject to market conditions’. Nice to see the Neptune mosaic going back, but that’s the only positive. My design is at least varied – and note they don’t have a view from that angle along Swanston Street. The developers are Lendlease, the architects @hassell_studio, and the State Government owns the site. I’m not able to mount a campaign, but you could make a quick submission to the City of Melbourne’ Future Melbourne’ committee (Google that plus Agenda), and/or the Minister- I will be !

City Square site

I was wondering what the new City Square was going to look like and realised the plans I have from 2017 are probably it – much the same as before, but about 1/3 taken up by the escalators and lifts and a flat area to get to them, all covered by a big glass roof (final design uncertain). There’s a bit more grass, a nice spouty water feature in the middle, while the lifts and vents are just flat clad in bluestone- it’s all very uninspired, especially compared to the stylish and impressive station hall below. And they’ve got Burke & Wills behind the tree line instead of on the corner (but perhaps that’s ok for over – herocised old white men idiot explorers?). Designers probably jointly the City of Melbourne and Metro architects Hassel with Rogers Stirk Harbour. Surely they could have given the design some spark ? And at least we should should know what the design is ! (But personally I’d rather see the site as cafes and lanes and buildings with interesting functions upstairs such as the city library – we don’t need the city square at all, we’ve got fed square, and we’ve lived without it for 6 years…)

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