Malvern City Square

Location \ Cnr Glenferrie Road and High Street, Armadale, Melbourne
Client \ City of Stonnington
Consultants \ Steensen Varming, JMP Engineers
Budget \ AUD$1.8Million

Malvern City Square is positioned in a distinct location opposite the Malvern Town Hall at the junction of Glenferrie Road and High Street in Armadale, Melbourne. The site is located in a prominent position at the junction of two main roads in one of the highest points in the suburb. The  site covers an area of 1800sqm and includes the outdoor dining space attached to Giorgios Restaurant.

Rush\Wright Associates (RWA) were engaged by the City of Stonington in 2004 to develop a Masterplan for the site due to the issue of water leakage in the underground carpark below the square. The project was initially delayed but went to tender in June 2005 and was completed in January 2006 receiving wide praise from the council, shop owners and the public. The overall budget for the project was $1.4 million AUS.

The new design by Rush\Wright Associates addressed the existing problems on site and created a City Square which is immediately recognisable forming a local civic focus. The existing heritage listed statues ‘Sun God’ and ‘Moon God’ were re-positioned to frame the entrance off High Street in conjunction with the new tram shelter.

The City Square is located in a dense urban shopping precinct and as such the site needed a higher percentage of paved areas to allow for large volumes of people and the ability to hold functions. Material selection was based on the need for a slip resistant and safe surface whilst adding a dynamic and unique feel to the site. The granite is complimented by stainless steel handrails and mesh forms which surround the existing planters.

Three tones of granite (Dove, Raven and Peacock supplied by Eco Concepts) were laid in a random pattern developed by the RWA in Photoshop. This pattern was then translated into AutoCad which allowed the contractor to lay the pavement exactly as originally drawn. The granite was also used for all of the steps, ramp, statue platform and retaining walls where the tiles were individually set down to deter the use of skateboards.

The design agenda for the new square was to open up the upper level which previously only had one entrance point from Glenferrie Road. This was achieved by extending the upper level into the site, providing two new entrance points from High Street and a ramped entrance from Glenferrie Road each with wide steps which also provide casual seating. The upper level is still used as an outdoor dining space by Giorgios Restaurant however it is now perceived as an integral part of the square and contributes to the overall feel of the space as they are open until later every night.

Lighting thus played an important role in providing a safe environment where all areas of the site were visible at night. Light poles form view lines into the site and wash the area with a soft yellow light while feature lighting to the statues and existing Plane trees highlight the site at night and the colours within the site.

Feature planting was used along the perimeter of the site to add to the ‘green’ feeling within the streetscape. Areas of raised grass where created under the existing trees providing casual seating areas in shade. The existing grass, although popular, was in poor condition due to the amount of traffic over its surface. Trachelospermum jasminiodes (Star Jasmine) was planted along Glenferrie Road to form a dense ground cover with a distinct characteristic and fragrance. A timber deck runs between the Jasmine creating a soft edge against the granite pavement. Ficus microcarpa var. hillii (Hill’s Weeping Fig) has been planted in the plaza space opposite the Town Hall to highlight the connection between the two spaces. The colour of the granite and the dark planters is a great match to the white trunks and green foliage of the trees.

Many skills came together to complete this project including the design team (RWA, Steensen Varming and JMP Engineers), JA Dodds Construction, and Qualified Construction who worked in conjunction with Angeli & Associates specialists in industrial and architectural photogrammetry.