South Morang Rail Extension
- Cox Architecture
- Department of Transport Victoria
- John Holland
The South Morang Rail Extension Project includes construction of three new rail stations, urban plaza’s and associated pedestrian, bus and vehicular access (at the expanding suburban townships of Thomastown, Epping and South Morang). Each station has been considered an expressive catalyst to establish a unique urban identity and create a benchmark of quality for subsequent infill and green field development. The stations have been designed as high quality public spaces that use the vitality of critical modes of public transport and interchange to enrich their communities, and to provide a platform for the social exchange critical to a civic identity.
The most significant aspect of the stations’ built form is the canopy – a sculptural form of civic scale that folds and unfolds in response to each site context. It is the unifying element of the stations that integrates the station buildings, platforms and ground plane. Its design is dynamic and choreographs the movement of station users from plaza to rail corridor with its folded geometrical form. The approach to the projects’ folded façade and inherent structural gymnastics is to create a column free environment resulting in a transparent, secure, and an identifiable language to the trilogy of stations.
Form and materials have been carefully considered to ensure a robust, safe and transparent rail and interchange environment that has a warmth and scale suitable for community-focussed public use. Due to the harsh rail environment a hard wearing, technologically advanced protective coating system on folded steel panel was selected as the key material for the buildings due to their robustness and maintainability from vandalism and graffiti whilst optimising their flexible nature in form-making. Timber and glass has been selected to provide a soffit of warmth and welcome to the stations address.
The South Morang Rail Extension team worked closely with the Department of Transport to develop an ESD assessment tool to drive and procure environmental sustainability in the project. Some of the key ESD initiatives include rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, station wash-down and landscape irrigation, managing carbon emissions and waste during the construction process and encouraging bike and pedestrian activities by connecting new bike and foot paths to existing networks across the sites. The design for open landscaped forecourts with seating at the stations also encourages social interaction within the precinct to create a positive and safe environment for commuters.