Finalist 2023

Lilydale and Mooroolbark Stations

BKK Architects / Kyriacou Architects / Jacobs / ASPECT Studios

These projects deliver more than infrastructure, boosting economic and social conditions by revitalising relationships between civic assets and their townships.

BKK Architects in collaboration with Kyriacou Architects, Jacobs and ASPECT Studios completed two new train stations at the terminus of the Lilydale Railway Line. Part of the Victorian Government’s Level Crossing Removal Project, the new stations at Lilydale and Mooroolbark are siblings – unique, but with a shared material identity.

Both stations reactivate the public realm, reinstating cross-corridor pedestrian, cyclist and motorist connections - severed since the railway’s construction in 1882.

The new stations are supported by a new shared user path, reconnecting Melbourne to the Yarra Valley via the Warburton Rail Trail.

Design Brief:

How can a raised train station contribute to an increase sense of local identity while respecting what already exists?

  • Urban Insertion: Public forecourts, urban seating and sensitive landscaping merge the stations with the existing low-rise urban fabric.
  • A Civic Gesture: Zinc clad towers at the heart of each station are urban markers that sensitively communicate the presence of the stations and punctuate the linear monotony of engineering elements.
  • Intermodal Connectivity: By integrating motorist, cyclist and bus connections, the designs allow for greater convenience for passengers while promoting passive surveillance and safety.
  • An Elemental Approach: Both stations were considered as assemblages of shared elements. The towers, hand-laid stone, and feature lighting each enhance commuter wayfinding and architectural legibility.
  • Greening The Infrastructure: The station precinct plan leaves space for a ‘green ring’ – canopy tree planting that softens the visual impact of the elevated rail infrastructure.

This project was developed by:

Design Process

The design for Lilydale and Mooroolbark stations was a true collaborative effort between BKK Architects, Kyriacou Architects, Jacobs, and ASPECT Studios.

At inception, the project team began with research – investigating present site conditions in parallel with recent history and millennium-old indigenous history.

The research process included investigations into landscape, geology, existing architecture, and community; informing a sophisticated response to material, form and program.

The materials selected for these projects reflect the landscape in which they are built. The mud stone is hand-laid to not only reflect the geology of site, but also the rich history of craft throughout the Yarra Valley. In this manner, the stonework at each station maintains its own unique character – depictive of the different masons who laid them on site.

The form of the stations seeks to punctuate the linear monotony of rail infrastructure, promoting a sense of arrival and departure for commuters. This experience was inspired by historical research which identified the clocktower as a hallmark of great railway stations. With the advent of mobile devices, time has become more omnipresent, and with it, the value of a clocktower has been diminished. As such, the clocktower has been reimagined not as an element to tell time, but an element to display art – the Refik Anadol example at Lilydale responding live to weathervane data.

The program of both stations seeks to democratise the civic asset, allowing free passage across the rail corridor. Through the omission of ticket gates, pedestrians not catching a train or bus can travel through the station, allowing them easier access between work, school, home, and recreation.

These outcomes are achieved only with collaborative communication, through hand-sketches, computer-aided drawings, and three-dimensional models. The stations are greater outcomes than any one architect could achieve.

Design Excellence

These projects deliver more than infrastructure, boosting economic and social conditions by revitalising relationships between civic assets and their townships.

Activity is focused on the street-level concourse, a covered space blurring the indoor/outdoor distinction with entrances and visual connections from many directions. It has small buildings connected under the railway-line roof:

  • a public building with a waiting room, kiosk and toilets
  • a staff building with an outward-facing ticket office
  • a services building including facilities for Victoria Police PSO’s.

Mooroolbark’s railway line and new station are elevated above Manchester Road. The new station-focused civic heart addresses the Brice Avenue piazza and shopping strip to the south and our new multi-deck carpark to the north. Like Lilydale’s, Mooroolbark station’s entrances and thoroughfares are located for strong transport connections (bus, bike, car, train). It also has an indoor/outdoor concourse beneath the railway line.

A green ring surrounds the new infrastructure, softening its impact and echoing Mooroolbark’s leafy character. The glass screens in the bus bay feature a commissioned graphic by Melbourne designer Jordan Rowe with historic local images that celebrate Mooroolbark as a place.

Architecturally, the stations are siblings. They’re not assertive statements; their design distils the civic building to its essential, practical elements. Both have distinctive towers as urban markers. Lilydale’s 27m tower is topped with Wind of Lilydale, a spectacular commission by Turkish-American digital artist Refik Anadol.

The architecture team collaborated with ASPECT Studios on the urban-design component. We coordinated all disciplines via a federated 360-degree BIM model throughout the project. Besides documentation, it was a powerful tool for checking subconsultants’ work, generating costings, and assessing aspects of constructability. Storing the enormous model in the cloud prevented problems with the file size so all users could transfer data from any location.

Design Innovation

These projects go above and beyond to deliver innovation in infrastructure, through the implementation of new materials, digital engineering, and sustainability benchmarking.

Both Lilydale and Mooroolbark station have achieved a 5-Star design rating using Australia’s Green Star Railway Stations tool.

Mooroolbark Station also includes a three-storey multi-deck commuter carpark, which strengthens Mooroolbark as a transport hub. To soften its impact, we created an array of fins for the façade. We sampled an image from nearby Brushy Creek to get the selection of greens just right. It blends the multi-deck sensitively into its bushy community.

At Mooroolbark Station, the project team also designed a 100% recyclable ETFE roof to create a light-filled, cathedral-like, station concourse. The material pays homage to the canopy of Southern Cross Station at the beginning of the Lilydale line.

The architecture team coordinated all disciplines via a federated 360-degree BIM model throughout the project. Besides documentation, it was a powerful tool for checking subconsultants’ work, generating costings, and assessing aspects of constructability. Storing the enormous model in the cloud prevented problems with the file size so all users could transfer data from any location.

Design Impact

Infrastructure can transform a place if it’s integrated with sensitive urban design.

These projects deliver more than just transport infrastructure; they boost economic and social conditions by bringing new vitality and civic assets to their townships.

Both new station precincts are intermodal hubs for trains, buses, bikes and cars. Safe, amenable facilities increase local public-transport usage, demonstrating how social and environmental sustainability go hand in hand.

As well as this, the stations have achieved a 5-Star design rating using Australia’s Green Star Railway Stations tool.

Public art: Both stations have towering lift shafts as urban markers. Lilydale’s 27m one is topped with Wind of Lilydale, a spectacular new commission by Turkish-American digital artist Refik Anadol.

Wind of Lilydale is steeped in its place. It is an artistic interpretation of local weather data, which is processed by a custom algorithm into a constantly changing visual pattern. In this manner, the artworks lends visual language to an invisible force, operating in real time, so the pattern you see is the weather you’re experiencing.

Mooroolbark’s lift shaft is a contemporary clocktower that celebrates the symbiotic relationship between time and train travel. Below it, the glass bus-bay screens feature a graphic by Melbourne designer Jordan Rowe. It combines images of local plants and wildlife with historic photos of the original 1887 station.

Art rallies public pride, and these place-inspired works could exist nowhere else.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

Infrastructure projects such as train stations demand high amounts of energy and materials to be built. For the design team it was of utmost importance that the use of unnecessary material was minimised and that cladding materials employed in the project would require little to no maintenance over the lifetime of the building.

Both achieved a 5-Star design rating using the Green Star Railway Stations tool.

Both stations are clad in zinc and local Coldstream mudstone, popular in Yarra Valley buildings. By investing in these durable natural materials, the energy expended in maintenance and repair over the lifetime of the buildings in greatly reduced.

At Mooroolbark station, a PV array supports its 5-Star rating and over the entrance is a canopy of 100%-recyclable EFTE plastic polymer.

Ecology:

Railway stations and corridors tend to have minimal public access and are therefore time capsules of remnant ecology, although amendments to those corridors with major works like level crossings can impact existing vegetation.

This project included the planting of 60,000 trees, shrubs and grasses, predominantly indigenous species, throughout the Mooroolbark and Lilydale areas.

At Lilydale, there was limited ecological value in the corridor, with large stabling yards at the existing station and large areas of asphalt and gravel parking. The new design includes a new landscaped forecourt to the original heritage building, with WSUD designed throughout the parking areas.

At Mooroolbark, land within 200m of Brushy Creek and Olinda Creek is an area of cultural heritage importance. A Cultural Heritage Management Plan has been developed in accordance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 to ensure the appropriate management of Aboriginal heritage values on this project. Aboriginal Victoria approved the plan, and the project was responsible for complying with its conditions.

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