Atelier Red + Black re-imagines the East West Link

Aug 1, 2014
  • Article by Online Editor

Above image courtesy of Atelier Red + Black

Melbourne’s landmark “Cheese Stick” may be relocated in a bid to lessen the impact of the impending East West link design on Parkville residents.

A pro bono urban design proposal by architecture practice Atelier Red + Black for community group Safety Net would re-arrange elements of Melbourne’s Citylink in an attempt to conserve not just homes, but sports fields and established wetlands that will be eradicated in the current East West Link plan.

Though it incited a mixed reaction from Melburnians when unveiled in 2000, Denton Corker Marshall’s original Melbourne International Gateway has fast become a noteworthy part of the city’s architectural fabric. Recognizing that it was essential that the integration of the East West Link retains the character of Citylink’s northern entrance, Atelier Red + Black’s design maintains the integrity and visual language of the current design.

All images courtesy Atelier Red + Black
All images courtesy Atelier Red + Black

On the northern approach to Melbourne, ribbons of yellow and red delineate the road itself, punctuated with rows of red blades, strong lines projecting upwards to frame and split the surrounding views. Atelier Red + Black endeavours to relate to DCM’s urban architecture rather than compete with it, introducing roadways with muted silver and grey tones that will recede visually from the existing bold primary colours. Aesthetically, the new tunnel entrances and roads are conceived as zips, with “teeth” acting as visual and sonic barriers.

In moving the “Cheese Stick” 80 metres to the north, the iconic work will be given more space to be appreciated. Atelier Red + Black also aims to be sensitive to existing features of the local environment, incorporating new wetlands and proposing to replace disturbed green areas once new tunnels are introduced.

Atelier Red + Black is a Melbourne-based architecture, urban design and interiors firm, who are involved in rethinking Melbourne’s cityscape.

Conversation • 3 comments

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06 Aug 14 at 3:44 PM • Nigel Fitton

looks a bit dull, looks like a lot of knitting getting in the way of a previously good idea. why not just ask Barry what he would do!

07 Aug 14 at 10:24 AM • Pete

NO! Atelier red and black should “waste” their time designing a rail link instead of this toll-road that only the Victorian State government wants.

15 Aug 14 at 11:18 AM • Architect


Atelier Red + Black have said publicly multiple times that they would prefer no East West Link at all. There are massive problems with the proposed project including a sham business case, the impacts on the environment and the destruction of neighborhoods. Another problem is the current lack of design. The work done here is about harm minimization if the project goes ahead. As the project has planning approval (all be it on a dodgy reference design)there is a good chance it will unfortunately be built. Therefore we need the best possible design. The public now also have an alternative design to compare and judge the final proposal against. If the government design is a terrible result, then the public can call it for what it is.


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