Chris Buchhorn

The introduction of a largely non-contextual inclusion into Federation Square goes against the original vision for the square.

Prior to its inception and completion, it was widely agreed Melbourne was in dire need for a public square to which Federation square has successfully addressed. Understanding the (financial) motivations for the proposed Apple store suggests a commercial presence on the site is an justifiable (to a degree) addition however, economics is not reason enough to brush aside well considered access to shared urban environments. Considering this, probably the most contentious position of this proposal is not the introduction of a multi-national commercial entity into what is Melbourne’s premier civic square, but the demolition of the Yarra building.

As published by the original architects, the intent of Federation square was to establish relationship of federated spaces with an organisational strategy of built forms that employs gaps, links and passages that encapsulates and expands upon the established Melbourne laneway culture, but through to its facades but this characteristic of relationships extends beyond this. The geometric façade and variation of materiality although appearing chaotic actually creates a sense of order and consistency across the scheme. It is this contradiction of settled and un-settled, familiar and unfamiliar provokes the very essence of diversity and multi-usability envisaged for this project. It is because of this reason that the decision to demolish the Yarra Building which is most unsettling.

Being the closest building to the Yarra, the Yarra Building becomes the leading edge to the collective massing’s and is first read upon approach from the southerly approach. The introduction of a largely non-contextual inclusion into Federation Square goes against the original vision for the square. Its location takes un-necessary advantage of the main civic space and is inappropriate to this extent.

The addition of an Apple store does not necessarily mean it goes against the intent for Federation square, a scheme that better appropriates itself into the existing fabric, that is responsive to Melbourne and its cultural values and an alternative location or assimilation into existing built form would be a vastly better outcome for this site.