Thursday, July 25, 2013

$1.6 million wasted by our government

I am cross with our State Government, more so than usual. They invited architects to submit plans to revamp Flinders Street Station. It has a fine edifice and it hard to find a time when no on is taking a snap of its façade. Inside it is a mish mash of old and new but as Melbourne's major public transport train station, I think it works well enough.

The submitted plans are laughable. They are all so futuristic and take over much land that is not part of the station. God knows what the brief was, but the plans are all absurd.

The general public can vote for which they like, however  the government has already chosen one of the plans and is talking about a ten year time line. I read into that, it is not going to happen, but I think the $1,000,000 prize money to the winning entry will be paid out, plus another $600,000 for whatever. What a shocking waste of money. If you don't like any of the plans, don't vote.

One of the very nice aspects of the station is from the south as you come over Princes Bridge, or from Southbank. Most of the proposals seem to obscure the view. I was going to write more about it, but no need to reinvent the wheel when Daniel has done a fine enough job here with photos.

Later edit: Marcus tells you why voting is so pointless.


27 comments:

  1. It looks almost French

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    1. In that fussy way John.

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  2. Ha.. did you hear about the original schemozzle?
    In 1882, the government decided to build a new central passenger station but the competition wasn't held until 1899. The £500 first prize was given out to the winning architect.

    Within a couple of years they didn't like the winning entry so the plans were changed by Railway Commissioners in 1904. In 1905, work began on the revised station building and the next year on the revised dome. Then more changes were made in 1909, this time to the design of the platforms.

    Eventually, with so many changes and overruns, a Royal Commission was appointed (in 1910)!! I love Flinders St Station, but oh dear... what a cockup.

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    1. Hels, that is interesting and reminds me of a book I will ask for when it is my birthday. You can guess. There is also the persistent rumour about plans for the station being mixed up with plans for an Indian station.

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  3. Flinders Street Station is one of the best known buildings in Australia. Whatever they do, I hope they'll keep the facade as it is. I don't think Melbourne needs another Federation Square (modern???, bad???, ugly???) design.

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    1. Will, they all keep the façade but it is just dwarfed by most of the plans and made to look silly.

      I have grown to like Fed Square.

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  4. TY. Having seen Daniel's summary of the proposals I can now see what all the guff in the papers was supposed to show me.

    Totally agree... dwarfing the building is ridiculous. I like the original wall/roof design. The idea of not confusing new additions with the original structure is new to me, but the point makes sense. Therefore, a stylised incorporation of the original wall/roof design would win my vote. I would be especially chuffed if the phone boxes were restored along the side, and people had to spend a penny to spend a penny - maybe the standard of loo cleaning could be lifted.

    I don't understand the obsession with white, latticed designs for roofs - they just end up looking filthy [though this would complement the existing toilets nicely].

    The point made by someone on Daniel's blog that this should be about the building, not all the extraneous decoration is a good one. Keep the facade, let us keep looking at it, and renovate the inside so the building is useful.

    Ten years? First we have to pay for the desal plant and the bloody great hole in Royal Park. These designs are so bad that someone will undoubtedly commit to one of them before the year is out - after all, the architect is no longer premier.

    The Sydney Opera house was paid for by a lottery. Not many people liked it at first as it was a little 'out there'. The SOH sail design suits a giant harbour.
    I cannot see that the proposed designs for Flinders St reflect anything about Melbourne's environment or character. Perhaps a McDonald's franchise might be more appropriate.

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    1. FC, while I knew about this competition when it was first mooted, I had no idea that it involved areas outside the station itself. That just is not what people want.

      Pity about Tattslotto. Special lotteries could have been opened regularly for projects. SOH looks fine from a distance.

      Don't forget a levy on, was it businesses or ratepayers? of City of Melbourne went towards the building of the City Loop

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  5. I usually like a marriage of old and new but those first two designs are WAY over the top. I like the idea Daniel mentions of finishing off the original design with a full canopy.
    Surely they could manage an increase in efficiency without trashing the original beautiful building?
    I know it's on a smaller scale but I think that a brilliant job was done on the new Eurostar terminal at London Paddington. It's efficient, modern and yet completely at home with the buildings original heritage (right down to the original blue paint). I love stopping at the Champagne bar before I catch a train just to take in the building.

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    1. Craig, St Pancras is wonderful. Unfortunately we did not have much time to check it out properly, let alone visit the Champagne Bar. We rather entered the arse end of it by bus. Hopefully on our next visit...

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    2. Duh. St Pancras of course. Well it began with a "P"!

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    3. Craig, I did not even notice you wrote Paddington. I am a fine proof reader, not.

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  6. Why open voting to the public when a plan has already been chosen? If the government wants to waste money like that I'll hold my hand out...
    They're not changing the facade are they? Just the interior? (I hope)

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    1. River, straight to point. What is the point of that? Not touching the façade, just overwhelming it. Just a quick look at the photos and you will see what I mean.

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  7. Agree 100%! This fashion for keeping a valued veneer around some self-indulgent carbuncle is so cynical.

    I was in Southbank today admiring Flinders Street Station from the SW corner. This vista will be lost completely - especially if yet another hotel development is perched on top.

    The problem of the Station isn't the outside view. It's the concourse; it's the platforms; it's the stairs; it's the seedy undercrofts. The view of the run-down parcels platforms you posted here a few days back shows another area that needs work!

    As a regular user of Platforms 12 and 13, I "enjoy" the vast improvements to the amenity provided by the Fed Square development above - not(!)

    How much improvement to the operational aspects will this undemocratically arrived at design provide? I hope it gets lost in other priorities and changes of politicians.

    Is this all just a smoke-screen for the failure to deliver any of the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel?

    I refuse to "click like" on any of the designs, or the process itself.

    Cheers

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    1. Ah Polomint. You live on the Sandy line? I hate being dumped at those platforms, let alone catching a train from them.

      It is safe to say that all of the plans will ruin the view from the south. I am sure the plan will go the way of roofing the Jolimont rail yard innumerable plans have gone.

      I've updated the post to include a link to a post by Marcus. The tiled walls certainly need to be dealt with.

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  8. It looks a bit like our Queen Victoria building.
    Merle.....

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    1. It does Merle. We have our own Queen Victoria building, QV, and it looks nothing like either.

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  9. I agree it needs modernising but keeping the same look as it has now. Its Melbourn'e icon.

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    1. Diane, most of it is quite modern inside. There are parts of it, such as the tiles and the 'do not spit' need fixing, but it is not broke and does not need 'architect plans'.

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  10. I haven't seen the plans but I hope they upgrade the disgusting toilets! They're embarrassing. I have a locum working with me atm and she's from Castlemaine. She was telling me how revolted she was by the toilets at Flinders St and how the ones at So Cross are much nicer. It's a great point, why are amenities so lacking?

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    1. I've never used them but you aren't the first person I have heard complaining about the state of them. All they probably need is frequent cleaning.

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  11. OMG Andrew those first two designs are hideous! I'm not sure if you can google images of our new station here in Perth, but I have to say it really has been modernized rather tastefully, which surprises me hugely considering the dreaded Elizabeth Quay project :)

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    1. Grace, that is pretty much what most people expected of the plans.

      Little engines will be crawling the web for negative mentions of the Quay project. Keep up the good work.

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  12. In 10 years time can you still meet under the clocks? Or will the old entrance with its grandeur be just a side portal!

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    1. Peter, one government tried to take the clocks away have them changed to digital display and there was an outcry. They used to be changed by hand, but now the it is all done electronically. All of the plans diminish the present Station.

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    2. I saw the 6 plans/vids on Designboom.com, it's Always nice to have something new, but keep it in style with the surroundings. Why only glass and steel, use some of the yellow and red brick to complement the old station.

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