The Long List and the Architecture Rebels

Last night saw an unprecedented architectural event take place in small studio, off a quiet Fitzroy street.  The event, entitled Long List, was a private gallery function celebrating the non-shortlisted Flinders Street Station Design Competition entries.  Rebellious architectural activity is rare in the current litigious and politically correct era. This event however, proved that self organized activism within the profession is not extinct. With the shortlisted architectural competition ongoing, the non selected designs are currently embargoed from public view. To make matters worse no public exhibition of all stage 1 submissions is likely to happen, even upon completion of the competition in mid 2013. To ensure an important learning opportunity was not lost to the profession, the Long List private event was born.

The bubble wrap shroud

Event Organiser Juliet Moore

Hosted at Sibling Studio, the event was very much a casual yet engaging affair, with lively informal discussion amongst the hanging boards and bubble wrap shroud. The only formalities were brief speeches by event organiser Juliet Moore and Timothy Moore followed by a presentation by Andrew Burns on his successful entries into other recent architectural competitions. His presentation and a follow up conversation have reinforced my resolve to enter in future (but possibly smaller) competitions.




The schemes

There were approximately 30 schemes presented from both the well known and the obscure.  For me some of the most interesting schemes dealt with the following elements

  • Canopies over sections of the station one of which encompassed the entire site
  • A tower at the western end of the site, similar in height and expression to Eureka tower. This created an interesting relationship between the two towers with the Yarra in between.
  • Considering the existing administration building to be part of a fractured courtyard.


The themes

Consistent throughout the boards were schemes that were grappling with the enormous scale of the site.  A large number chose to express a single overall gesture which encompassed the entire site. Others broke the site up into smaller components each with their own expression. The driving element of this decision often linked back to how the architects saw the site in relation to the existing Hoddle grid. Whichever approach was adopted, the difficult task of relating the design back to a human scale was one done with varying degrees of success.

Another key aspect was how to address the river frontage. A particular favorite in this regard featured a green embankment along the river which cleverly morphed upwards  into a canopy over the platforms. The embankment embedded two levels of pedestrian access which would provide activation and spectacular views along the length of the Yarra.


Out the front of Sibling


The contrasts

For me a really interesting contrast was that between Elenberg Fraser and Design Inc. Both of these large architecture firms presented fantastic work, however the presentation styles could not have been more different. Elenberg Fraser presented one of the most impressive photorealistic cad renderings on view, whilst Design Inc comprised three boards of beautiful crafted hand sketches.

Another aspect for contrast was that between the large groups and collaborations and the small groups and individuals. To my surprise the gulf was not as far as I had expected and in many cases it was not until you read the name at the bottom that the size of the team was apparent.

A valuable experience

The importance of this event should not be understated. It provided a valuable opportunity to close the circle for the architects who have spent many hundreds of hours designing and preparing schemes. It provided the opportunity for feedback from peers and co-recognition of the enormity of what has been achieved. It is also evidence of the passion and commitment that architects have for their work.

Design analysis in progress

A big thank-you to Juliet Moore, Sibling, Creffield Digital Print and everyone involved behind the scenes.



Architecture is for everyone

About Michael Smith

Architect and Director of Atelier Red + Black based in Melbourne, Australia
This entry was posted in all posts, construction industry, Flinders Street Station Design Competition, News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Long List and the Architecture Rebels

  1. livsmith21 says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if there was a display like this at Fed Square for the next Melbourne Open House? As a non-architect, it’d be great to get the chance to look at designs, think about what big statements we could have in our city, and perhaps talk to some of the architects.

  2. Sonia says:

    we architects have (wrongly) earned the reputation for being ‘egotistic, sensitive to criticism and fame hungry ‘, this event proves all three adjectives wrong. Sad to have missed it.

  3. Pingback: Flinders Street Designs Set Free | The Red and Black Architect

  4. Pingback: 2012 Retrospective | The Red and Black Architect

  5. Pingback: Flinders Street Station Design finalists open to the public! | The Red and Black Architect

  6. Pingback: The Red + Black Architect – Post 100 | The Red and Black Architect

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s