Bringing St Kilda Junction back to life?

Food for thought today as a follow-up piece to yesterday's article which highlighted Icon St Kilda's completion. The apartment tower which now sits atop St Kilda Junction is one of many new apartment projects (both completed and under construction) surrounding the Junction.

As the area grows in popularity, the Junction itself looks to be slipping into obscurity with the dated urban realm anything but inviting. With this in mind, Town Planning and Urban Design firm David Lock Associates instigated a design competition with the aim of reinvigorating St Kilda Junction.

Now complete, the competition dubbed Re:imagine the Junction sought innovative design solutions from final year, masters and post graduate planning, urban design and architecture students from Australian Universities.

This competition is about new inner-urban futures – the Future City set within an historic urban fabric. A future fabric that not only meets 21st Century needs but also heals previous injuries inflicted on Melbourne's inner-urban inheritance.

Around 1970, the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works eviscerated central St Kilda. The heart of St Kilda Junction was ripped out. St Kilda’s High Street shopping spine, stretching south, was hacked away and discarded.

The wound has never healed. St Kilda Junction and old High Street are now hardly more than soulless, community-dividing traffic sewers.

The Re:imagine the Junction competition will aim to re-monumentalise St Kilda Junction, and restore St Kilda Rd South (the former High St) and the Princes Highway as the living backbone of the suburb. Not with a return to the past, but with the imposition of an ambitious future.

David Lock Associates

Readers can view the student entries for the recently completed competition.

A selection of student works taken from the David Lock Associates website

Although the above designs do not conform to the real world parameters of St Kilda Junction, they do nonetheless provoke thought.

St Kilda Junction is by and large a decrepit area whose freeway-style road grade separation also doubles as a nexus between Melbourne's south east and the inner city. As more and more apartments reach completion within the area, St Kilda Junction and surrounds should in theory see a marked increase in foot traffic.

The Junction in many ways looks to be a smaller version of City Road; increased residential development while the ground plane has been neglected altogether. Both now shape as a prime candidates for new urban design ideas and extensive civil works.

Can the Junction's street level pizazz match that of its skyline? Image courtesy Melbourneguy


Aussie Steve's picture

What St Kilda Junction needs is a massive clean-up. New decorative lighting; the removal of low level planter boxes; the planting of more native trees; a new platform tram stop; new paving; contemporary artwork (not graffiti) on the walls; repainting of the balustrades etc... The roadway itself works extremely well, it's just too windswept and lacks any creativity in terms of color and light.

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Rohan Storey's picture

The roads are OK, though getting from st kilda road to barkly st is a bit tricky, as is from wellington st to st kilda rd. The 'pedestrian realm' as they say is pretty bleak, not only how it looks, but with so many traffic lights to negotiate to get across, and a grungyish underpass, it just not nice to be in or get around.

Not that there's many pedestrians, seeing as unless your going to said stops, its only a crossing between fairly distant destinations eg chapel st shops and fitzroy st shops.

So the landscaping could be much nicer, but if only the whole thing had some strong urban quality. The grassy space at the south end just seems like a wasteland.

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