Making a point...

11 Sep 2012

Cox Architecture and Department of Transport completes iconic new rail station in Melbourne

The South Morang Rail Extension (SMRE) is an extension to an existing metropolitan rail corridor including construction of three new rail stations. A core design objective was to use each station as an expressive catalyst to establish an urban identity and create a benchmark of quality for subsequent infill development.

Although distinct in their achievement of this, each of the stations - South Morang, Epping and Thomastown - are clearly identifiable as three parts of a greater urban vision to link current and future activities of local communities.

The central aspect of the stations' built form is the canopy - a sculptural form of civic scale that folds and unfolds in response to each site and its functional context. The canopy is a unifying element of the stations that integrates the station buildings, platforms and ground plane. Its design is dynamic and provides orientation by choreographing the movement of station users from plaza to rail corridor with its angled geometrical form.

Careful design ensures unobstructed sightlines from station staff to the forecourt and platforms to maximise the safety of station users through passive surveillance. The plaza and platforms are also designed to enable accessibility for all users by carefully manipulating ground planes and integrating vertical infrastructure with their built form.

The SMRE has evolved the transport building typology from merely providing station design to generating complete civic identity. In essence, the stations are primarily high quality public spaces that support various modes of public transport and interchange.

Form and materials have been carefully considered to ensure a robust, safe rail and interchange environment that has a warmth and scale suitable for community-focussed public use. Painted steel panels were selected as the key material for the buildings due to their robustness and maintainability as well as their flexible nature in form-making, while timber has been used to provide material warmth to the stations.

Project Alliance Partners: Department of Transport, Cox Architecture, Arup, AECOM, John Holland.

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