ASPECT Studios was recently honoured at the 2017 Good Design Awards with a Good Design Award for Windsor Plaza, in the Architectural Design category of Urban Design and Public Spaces. This fine grain piece of place making in Melbourne’s south east stitches together two new public spaces that direct local pedestrian traffic safely to Windsor station from nearby Chapel Street, and four neighbourhood schools within the catchment.
At its simplest, the project rationalised a local road network to prioritise pedestrians with new shared zones. At an urban level, the Plaza has been a catalyst for change in the civic-minded village of Windsor.
Its improvement to public domain amenity prompted a makeover of the prominent Railway Hotel, and almost immediately after cars were removed around the Maddock Street end of the plaza, three new cafes opened with outdoor dining, which would have unthinkable before the project.
“The Plaza project created a gateway into Chapel Street and the City of Stonnington that was previously lacking. As a small budget project, we had to choose our ‘hero spends’ wisely. By day the outstanding features are the glazed brickwork and brass seating. By night, the light installation becomes a beacon, signaling the plaza from a distance with a programmed light display,” says Blake Farmer-Bowers of ASPECT Studios.
“Like the glazed brickwork, the light installation is a touchstone to the area’s past – referencing early telegraph poles depicted in archival images. It’s basically an assemblage of oversized glass insulators – iconic symbols of old electrical towers. It’s a nice embedded reference to history that also helps with way-finding.”
This latest award for Windsor Plaza is as much a testament to a great client (City of Stonnington) as it is to the transformational power of small, well considered urban interventions. Windsor Plaza also won a Civic Landscape Architecture Award from AILA (Vic) in 2016.