Sunday, June 14, 2015

Federation Square

Australians have an aversion to words with too many syllables and so Federation Square is mostly known as Fed Square, even on its website. Not every one likes it but many think like I do. I did not initially admire it architecturally but it has grown on me, and as a pubic space for a large number of people it works really well. It is not wheelchair or baby stroller friendly with its cobbled surfaces but then nor is much of the historic areas of Europe.

Here are some photos to show you around a bit.


From Swanston Street at the southern end of Flinders Street Station. Although not recently, we have been a few times to the aptly named Transport Bar, a good place to sit and people watch and tram watch too, if you are so inclined. Upstairs is fine dining, I believe. I wouldn't know.


To the right of the photo above is Federation Walk, at this point elevated significantly above the Yarra River. Stairs and and a lift lead down to Federation Wharf, and Riverland Cafe and Bar, a very nice spot when the weather is fine. 

Still on the riverside I am about to walk up some steps.


Once up, here is the large open expanse with its stage  for performances and the large tv screen above the stage.


Looking to the south east corner.


Towards the corner of Flinders and Swasnton Streets. While I have seen the area full of people many times, only once have I been in a crowd there and the occasion was for an Indian holy festival. We were surrounded by young Indian men.


You may notice the word acmi, Australian Centre for the Moving Image. It is a terrific part of Fed Square with films and permanent as well as temporary exhibitions.


Very outback Australian colours were chosen for the paving and it really does look good, especially after a dedicated removal of chewing gum was instigated.


The colours are beautiful.


Deck chairs and bean bags are brought out for appropriate seasons. Another criticism I have is a lack of shade so how about some deciduous trees.


R and I lunched with some friends who were blogmates at the cafe to the right, Ann O'Dyne, Copperwitch and Pants. Below the steps nearer to the Visitor Centre is where buskers gather the audience and perform. The Visitor Centre is mostly underground and is very very good, staffed mostly by volunteers I think.


Bit quiet up here on a cold weekday, but we have at times been unable to get a seat at any of the many cafes and restaurants.


The building are on the other side of the river at Southbank.


I did step inside and take a photo but it is too blurry. Alfred Deakin was Australia's second Prime Minister and a strong activist for the Australian states to be joined into a federation, which it now is.


Maybe this is what people dislike about Fed Square. In the short distance is.....


a performance space. It is often named after an advertising sponsor and so its name changes.


Left over poppies from Anzac Day.


A shop full of beautiful and expensive things. Remember it Copperwitch? Remember when you turned around and that really expensive vase fell down and broke? Ah, well, delicately, we received a bill. $250, I'm afraid. A cheque will be ok.


Even more Anzac Day poppies.


I stepped outside to the eastern side of Federation Square. The northern City Loop tunnel disappears into the ground. From my childhood I remember roofing over the railway yards being talked about by politicians and media. As you can see, it can take long time for some things to happen.


Near to the eastern side is a community? vegetable garden.


Are we sick of poppies yet?


Bats flying about. Well pretend ones.


Meccano gone wrong? I once had a small Meccano set. Being an atypical gay child, I was more interested in keeping in neat and tidy in its box than the chaotic constructions made by my brother.


Driving you batty.


 

 Looking back to the northern side from across Flinders Street. So what do think? Thumbs up or down? A bit weird yes, but does it work?


41 comments:

  1. From my limited experience of it I think Federation Square is a space and design you warm to over time rather than love the instant you first see it.

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    1. Victor, quite so. I have come to really like it, having seen it put to so many public purposes.

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  2. Interesting. I think I would need to stand in it and feel the atmosphere to be sure whether I liked it.
    You have met Jahteh and Ann O'D? How wonderful. I discovered both of them early in my excursions into the blogosphere.

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    1. EC, it is best appreciated when there are plenty of people there. Yes, met them a couple of times, well Annie three times. I think bloggers I have met total eight or nine and I do have an unfinished post about that but it won't appear for some time yet, now. Btw, as awful as they seem, Jah Teh and Annie are rather nice.

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  3. I like the trips around Melbourne you take us on , this does look like a interesting place lots of different things to look at.
    How right you are we do shorten names, I think we are to lazy to say the full name let alone write it.
    Merle ..........

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    1. Merle, I was going to attempt to be funny by using a shortened version of your name, but there isn't one, is there. Lucky you, but it can be changed to Merlie.

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  4. I liked the architecture of Fed Square when I first saw it, but then I like things which are different and make a statement. I enjoyed the walk around with you and the extra local's knowledge.

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    1. Carol, thanks. It is a bit hard to see or take the big picture of Fed Square.

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  5. I very much enjoyed the tour... were I to go there, I could orient myself from it. I'd not mind the cobblestones; the occasional bumpy ride can be quite enjoyable.
    The architecture and atmosphere of the place come across as exuberant and high energy in these photos; I'd enjoy exploring such a place.

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    1. Jac, that intersection is probably the best orientation point in Melbourne. Exuberant is a good word to describe it.

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  6. I'll have everyone know I was very careful after all it's a small place and I'm a Costco size person. And he was too cheap to buy R the vase I'd picked out, for heaven's sake, it was only $2000 and R was worth it. He carried my bag for me. If it had been a glass tram you'd have bought it.

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    1. Jah Teh, indirectly I did eventually buy him something from there. When R's sister was here from England, she ended up broke, so I have her the money to buy something from there. I think it is fruit platter, hand made and rather nice, $250. I would have carried your bag, he just was a bit more proactive. Nice memory.

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  7. That is why I stay out of those kind of shops! And why in my kitchen you will not find very much glass at all - plastic and acrylic are the way to go for me, because glass does not last around me. :)

    Glass does not last, that rhymes, lol. :)

    I love the paving there!

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    1. Snoskred, I, nay we, adore glass. Glass and class rhyme better! Your feet actually feel good after walking on cobblestones like that.

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    2. Because the constant surface change is like a massage for your feet.

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  8. Andres, the architecture of the square is very intefesting but in ny opinion it is a mixture of styles.I love popjes because they remind me about my childhood when I spent free time at my granny now all is lost ,

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    1. Gosia, you would have seen photos of the poppies spilling from the Tower of London. Wasn't that wonderful.

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    2. Andrew I saw them and they were so beautiful. It was the red sea of them..

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  9. Because my office is in Flinders Lane, Fed Square is an area I know very well indeed - you can find me there every Friday afternoon. Here was the original brief:

    In 1996 the Victorian Government held an international, two-stage design competition to redevelop the precinct as the city’s new civic square, opening up the space for public use. As part of the celebrations surrounding the Centenary of Federation (1/1/1901), the project had to include cultural and commercial buildings and an open amphitheatre capable of holding up to 15,000 people. It also had to be built above the city’s major transport hub – Jolimont Railway Yards".

    Your photo Federation Walk above the Yarra River is excellent. It is the best part because the lift goes down to Federation Wharf and Riverland Cafe. I love the open bits.

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    1. Hels, I had the impression you did not like Fed Square. Shouldn't you be home on Friday afternoon preparing the Friday night family dinner, and not skulling down drinks at Riverland.

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  10. I suspect that I'd like it more in person than via your excellent photos. I'm a fan of modern architecture so I can't possibly say that I don't like it. It's quite sprawling from what I can see so a little difficult to get my head around the whole place.

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    1. Craig, after holidays I see if I can get a better overview of the quite large footprint. There are also some things I should have included but did not, such tv and radio studios, the art gallery and the controversial shard(s). What it replaced should also have been noted with a photo.

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  11. A little weird but not too bad. I don't like that broken put back together look of the facade, but once you're inside it doesn't matter I suppose. you're right about the shade, there should be some, even if only large umbrellas or shade sail structures.
    Shame about that broken vase, they really should be more careful where they place things in stores like that. (*~*)
    I remember reading about your cafe lunch with Coppy, Pants and Ann O'Dyne and feeling a little jealous, but glad you posted about it.

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    1. River, I have a vague recollection of seeing umbrellas up there at times. It was Jah Teh's big bum that did the damage, haha. It was terrific to meet them, albeit a little nerve wracking.

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  12. Whether you like the aesthetics or not, the fact is the space works very successfully as a gathering place. Whether to watch the World Cup, Eurovision or Rudd's Sorry Speech, or for festivals, art events or demonstrations, Fed Square draws people together for shared experiences. I love it.

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    1. I was just thinking about you the other day Altissima and noted it had been a while, and here you pop up. Yes, that really is my point. As a space for the public to gather, it is brilliant, but I do like the rest of it too. Makes our modest City Square look somewhat sad.

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  13. I really quite like Fed Sq. I've spent a lot of time in and around it and it's a great space.

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    1. Fen, for public events, it really is a great space.

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  14. Would have to go there several times to get a feel for the square..in reality it would be different..

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    1. Margaret, yes, a visit or two is required.

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  15. Great pictures. Like many, I have grown to love Fed Square. It's nice to have a focal point in the city for the community. plus...I love the NGV.

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    1. Ad Rad, it is interesting that so many have grown to like it.

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  16. I love these kinds of urban spaces. This one is especially unusual!

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    1. Mitchell, people don't often care much for modern architecture but I think people do genuinely think Fed Square is pretty good.

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  17. Looks amazing! From the outside your Federation Square looks similar to our Perth Arena, could it be the same architect? I would google and find out but its after midnight and my head is killing me.. can you do it Andrew tomorrow, please :) :)

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    1. Grace, I do remember one of the architects was the partner of media and tv person Jill Singer. No, I can't see a connection between architects, so it is a case of who copied whom?

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    1. It is for sure Susie.

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  19. Fed Squ OK I suppose. been a few times for art shows at Ian Potter.
    It replaced the hideous brown brick TwinTowers of The Gas & Fuel Corporation of Victoria which should never have been built obliterating St Paul's spire, and how funny that public opinion ran them out of town.
    Our brunch was wonderful - we got a table for 5 and the weather was lovely and the transport nazis I abused on the tram didn't chase me.
    FOUR of them looming over some small human I just had to wade in and tell them what I thought so eloquently that other passengers supported me and the 4 leaped off the tram.

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    1. Ann, lunch was indeed nice. We should do it again. Just doing their job, weren't they? The Nazi defence?

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