City of Port Phillip are displaying the latest version of the St Kilda Triangle Interim Masterplan which would see the prime site become a park. Built form by way of a likely joint hotel/communal facility will be restricted to the site immediately south of the Palais Theatre, allowing for the vast majority of the site to remain free of any new buildings.
The Interim Masterplan establishes a framework for the connections, broad land uses, massing and location of built form arrangements on the site. It has been developed in from the masterplan Co-Design Workshops and has been informed by the St Kilda Triangle Design Brief (Rev 1) endorsed by Council on 28 July 2015.St Kilda Triangle Interim Masterplan Report
The Interim Masterplan shows that 16,000sqm of open space will dominate the site's footprint, in addition to a basement carpark for 350 vehicles located below the segment of the site that will hold approximately 23,500sqm of built form.
Separated into three segments, the new St Kilda Triangle will feature 'The Slopes', an 'Extended Balcony' and the built form outcome around the Palais Theatre.
A new foreshore entrance, extensive landscaping, an informal amphitheatre, rooftop deck/park and pavilion spaces highlight the open space aspects of the design. Placemaking agency Village Well and landscape firm T.C.L are heavily involved in this aspect of the Interim Masterplan while ARM Architecture is also in place for the built form segment. Further project members include GTA Consultants and Root Projects Australia.
The hotel/cultural facility is expected to be of a similar size to the Palais Theatre with a height of 30 metres expected.
Following likely approval of the Interim Masterplan, it is expected a more rigorous design process will be undertaken. Workshops will be held to further define key aspects of the masterplan which include heritage, landscaping and weather protection considerations.
Furthermore the draft St Kilda Triangle Cultural Charter will be enhanced to align with the current Interim Masterplan. This along with various other steps will allow for an eventual business case for the development to be created, thus allowing prospective funding partners to be sourced by City of Port Phillip.
The project timetable sees the funding process take place over 2016-2017 with 2020 slated as the final 'Management' stage which one assumes is the targeted construction completion date.
Are we creating boxes here just to be able to tick them for the purpose of being seen to be doing the right thing in the public eye? The process of once more getting the St Kilda Triangle development up and running looks to be an overly tedious one.
Pulling teeth looks to be more fun than waiting for City of Port Phillip to rubber stamp what is ostensibly a park; of course there's more to the plan than just a park but it does look to be a dumbed-down development that negates any genuine flair or ingenuity in the design process. The opportunity to create a low-rise landmark for St Kilda and Melbourne at large looks to be gone, with City of Port Phillip pursuing a different result.
Why not consider a museum, concert hall or community facility front and square onsite, taking pride of place rather than being tacked onto the back of a hotel?
Ultimately another park is never a bad outcome, but when the St Kilda Foreshore, O'Donnell Gardens, Peanut Farm Reserve and St Kilda Botanic Gardens are all within walking distance, the transformation of the St Kilda Triangle site into little more than a park is a soft option and a massive opportunity for a defining civic showpiece lost.