Federation Square East: an Urban Ecologies perspective

Peruse the Federation Square East website and the shutters have been put up in accordance with the caretaker conventions of the forthcoming State election. Expressions of interest for the 3.3 hectare site have been open for slightly over two months, and as is the case with such pursuits, public information is scant although the parameters for the EOI campaign are anything but.

We have covered a number of conceptual designs for the site which acts more as a nexus between water and skyline, and another has been presented by Georgina Tiernan. Currently with New York-based SHoP Architects and formerly with Fender Katsalidis architects, Georgina has presented Urban Melbourne with her interpretation of Federation Square East with a heavy bias toward urban ecology.

An atypical proposal. Image courtesy Georgia Tiernan

This thesis project explores the increasing disconnection between urbanism and agriculture. The project aims to connect everyday urban life with agricultural food production and culture.

Bridging the Jolimont Railyards in Melbourne the project reconnects the city to the landscape by dissolving the hard urban edge of the city grid into the landscaped banks of the Yarra River and Birrarung Marr Park through new hybrids of agricultural/architectural form.

By morphing varying agricultural and urban program with architecture, the project explores a new productive architecture in which habitable space is placed in and amongst agricultural systems of food production to create environments that reveal the entire farm-to-table process to the city.
Tower view. Image courtesy Georgian Tiernan

To see an extensive image set and further information on the Federation Square East proposal by Georgina Tiernan, visit her site at


Urban Melbourne produces our fair share of concept designs, with towers featuring predominantly. Federation Square East on the other hand had the team leaning toward a different outcome; an outcome that is not necessarily tall but distinctive in its cutting edge, sustainable design; a showcase precinct if you will.

Does Melbourne really want or need another podium-tower typology to define this precinct? Let's hope those charged with selecting the successful consortium for Federation Square East do so in the knowledge that this site is like no other; it demands a unique statement that will further define Melbourne and provide a focal point much like the original Federation square did and continues to do. A concept such as Georgina Tiernan's fits the bill perfectly to our way of thinking!

Thinking outside the square. It's easier said than done!

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