Bell and Preston Stations
As part of Victoria’s Level Crossing Removal Project, Wood Marsh is currently commissioned to design two premium train stations along the Mernda Line, greatly expanding amenity and connectivity to serve the dense population of the area. Distinguishing the project from the bold colouring of neighbouring lines, the Mernda Line is attributed a purple pigmentation to assert its unique identity as a geographical marking mechanism. Conceptually, the individual designs for Bell Station and Preston Station explore two separate approaches to capture the qualities of the local landmarks unique to each site.
In Bell Station, the local architectural vocabulary of post-war roof forms is abstracted into a three-dimensional, topographical pattern poured into the concrete facades. Dissecting the building through the centre, angled panels encasing pastel coloured acrylic activate the interior spaces with reflections and refractions during the day. A band of glazing at the top of the building brings light into the platforms and provides views back to the surrounding roofscape context. Adjacent to the Darebin Arts Centre, the plan for Bell Station draws out the idea of an arts precinct forming functional links between the two. One example is a public amphitheatre where the Arts Centre can host outdoor events.
The design for the Preston Station takes inspiration from its proximity to the Preston Markets, where an array of goods and cultures come together to create a rich tapestry of activity. Its façade is like a barcode used by the market vendors. A series of black parallel bars are pleated and injected with the bright colours observed within the market.
Through landscaping and shared paths, the project reconnects the neighbourhoods and provides new areas for recreation below the lifted railway and between the two stations, developed in collaboration with Tract Consultants.
Central to the aims of the project is an integration of indigenous co-design. A pattern using a modern interpretation of Wurundjeri shield markings runs the entire length of the project along a viaduct, casting shadows onto the rails. The landscaping includes spaces for yarning circles and plantings for weaving as well as indigenous food sources that can be harvested by the local indigenous community. Ideas were developed in collaboration with WSP and a number of Wurundjeri Aunties.
This project represents Wood Marsh’s fourth station collaboration with the Level Crossing Removal Project to date, resulting in the successful elimination of 10 level crossings. The designs were recently released to the public and construction is currently underway.