Flinders Street Design Comp entries unofficially revealed

Nov 28, 2012
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Designer

Above: Andrew Burns’s FSSDC entry.

The high-profile Flinders Street Station Design Competition (FSSDC) has been the subject of debate, after competition organisers Major Projects Victoria (MPV) – much to the dismay of some entrants – noted they wouldn’t be exhibiting any entries, shortlisted or not, until almost a year after the submission date.

A small handful of articles and blog posts surfaced this week – including one by Crikey’s Urbanist Alan Davies – questioning MPV’s decision to contain publication of entries until mid-2013. Many of the un-shortlisted practices also took it upon themselves to share their work online. Projects published online include entries from Andrew Burns, Apehaus, Delia Teschendorff Architecture, Fraser Paxton Architects, Gresley Abas, K20 Architecture, Michael Smith (The Red and Black Architect), ROTHELOWMAN and Steve Rose Architect/Mihaly Slocombe/Foong + Sormann.

From Steve Rose Architect/Mihaly Slocombe/Foong + Sormann’s entry.


The six shortlisted entries, which were announced in October, now have until July 2013 to further develop their ideas in Stage Two of the competition.

MPV yesterday tweeted external links to the entries published online before removing them this morning – the result of a miscommunication, according to an MPV representative, who reiterated that competition conditions state that entrants should keep entries confidential until the close of Stage Two.

Last Thursday saw an unofficial FSSDC ‘Longlist’ exhibition, organised by Melbourne architecture practice Edwards Moore. Held in Sibling’s Fitzroy studio, the exhibition presented 27 of the 100+ entries not included in the final shortlist. Concealed behind a translucent curtain made of bubble wrap, the projects hung side-by-side in a concentrated viewing area – subtly referencing the clandestine nature of the competition process.

From K20 Architecture’s entry.


Juliet Moore, co-director of Edwards Moore, said the intention of the exhibition was “to harness the enthusiasm and all the hard work that had gone into the competition, and the fact that there were a lot of people out there who got quite excited and involved in the process.”

“For us as a practice, [competitions] are so much about having a voice, and being able to have the opportunity to put forward our ideas. We’re big believers in competitions as a means of generating an architectural discussion and we think there should be more. There’s been criticism of how the Flinders Street competition’s been managed, but all in all I think it’s a positive thing and there should be more.”

Conversation • 6 comments

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28 Nov 12 at 1:53 PM • Andrew Burns

My view is that the Flinders St Station competition has been run very well by Major Projects Victoria. They have chosen to approach it as an open, anonymous, international competition and that is to be applauded. It gives practices large and small equal footing.

Likewise, I think it is reasonable for non shortlisted practices to publish their work and my reading of the competition conditions does not indicate otherwise.

I strongly encourage Major Projects Victoria to submit a detailed jury report at the completion of stage 2, if they have not planned to do so already. This would be an invaluable resource to all entrants, providing understanding of the jury process. Here, Major Projects Victoria has a great opportunity to educate and build up the local profession, which will in turn benefit the city of Melbourne and the profession nationally.

We chose to participate in the Longlist event, organized by Edwards Moore, because we considered it a generous act on their part, and something that can only contribute to the profession. If Australian architects are to compete internationally we must be each other’s advocates.

28 Nov 12 at 2:25 PM • Donald

My view is that Tom Heneghan should have resurfaced with another former student and judged the winning competition.

28 Nov 12 at 3:07 PM • Alicia

I applaud the decision of these practices to publish their work and support Andrew Burns’ suggestion re feedback from MPV. There was indeed much time/energy/resources invested throughout the profession in this competition process and the entrants deserve an opportunity to be scrutinised and celebrated. It is also an opportunity for public discourse and engagement with design and with the future of a site that is integral to Melbourne’s identity.

28 Nov 12 at 3:25 PM • Warwick Mihaly

I second Andrew’s positive remarks about MPV, as well as his call to release a comprehensive jury report on both stages of the competition. I do make the slight adjustment however that the report on Stage 1, together with a public exhibition of all entries be made available immediately.

Thanks to the hard work of the competition organisers and 117 architectural practices, a great number of valuable design ideas about the future of Flinders Street Station have surfaced. The truly missed opportunity is delaying a public and meaningful debate about this excellent piece of transport infrastructure, as well as the city at large.

The preparedness to share ideas is one of the architecture profession’s greatest attributes.

How else can we learn from one another, enhance our engagement with the built environment and collectively offer the fruits of our labour to the general public for comment and inspiration?

28 Nov 12 at 3:59 PM • Donald

Yes, I think wider public debate should be undertaken, preferably chaired by a celebrity chef. Cooks understand the architectural process very well, whereby you take someone else’s idea and claim it as your own, perhaps adding a dash of orginal colour.

28 Nov 12 at 4:06 PM • Paul Jenkins - Apehaus

Kudos to MPV for holding the competition & Citylab for their management of it. Undoubtedly it was a highlight on the 2012 architectural calendar for a lot of offices & design groups. As a small collective ourselves, we were excited by the prospect of entering a competition which would have large national & international exposure.

Although we may have dared to believe we could win, our main goal was to enter a proposal we were proud of & to learn from the experience. I’m glad to say we achieved our goal. It is for that reason in which we decided to make public our submission. All designers need to have their work critiqued by the public & their peers. I can understand MPV’s decision not to make the Top 6 entries public in order to protect against any architectural plagiarism however I do not believe it should apply to the unsuccessful designs. Post stage 1 we do not feel bound in any way to MPV. It has been awesome to see how other groups approached the brief & it has allowed us to view our own design from a different point of view which adds to our learning.

The calibre of the 5 “Starchitects” which made the 6 finalists cannot be disputed (Although some may have quipped “hopefully Zaha’s design allows the patrons to see the train on the top platforms … ?? …” ) however it would be refreshing to see a new wave of architects & designers take centre stage. The cynic in me would argue that some of these designers have a “trademark” style that carries through their work…& similar to having a De Vinci painting in your museum, you’re going to get publicity. I hope that the recognisable shortlist has not dissuaded young architects from entering future high-profile competitions.

Again after seeing the high standard of the released submissions, I’m certain the standard of the final 6 will be top quality … But it still would have been nice to see them released altogether in their conceptual form…


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