Back in June ideas were sought from the Melbourne community for the small yet very prominent plot of land formerly occupied by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). The process for making a submission was necessarily broad, the terms vague, and attempted to limit conceptual work to only a few pages, providing some idea of the embodied cost of construction and likely return on investment. The interpretation of these parameters by different agencies was almost as creative as their actual content.
Overall, this exercise in crowdsourcing has returned a broad palette of ideas in a variety of formats. Some have proffered a few pithy lines, some have agonised over a three page, high definition submission that could fill three major billboards, while still others have provided up to six separate concepts! All of them, creative, thoughtful, and a real delight.
In particular, a few individuals and agencies engaged with the purpose and mission of the Royal Society of Victoria to promote the practice and understanding of science in Victoria, finding ways to align concepts with our key goals.
There are repeated themes of sculptures, iconic monuments, lecture theatres, green rooftops and cafes, along with didactic displays and education centres relating to the sciences. Some present architectural elements that are in themselves highly inclusive of technology. Some are simply unique! These concepts are presented below. You can also view the individual and company designs as well as vote for your favourite proposal HERE.
Let’s start with our favourite proposal:
- Simple Studio – “STEAM Gallery”
This agency proposes to explore the formal idea of activating the site by creating public open space housing a subterranean gallery space.
2. Chris Barnes, Teuta Jerliu, Lily Jiang – “The Bureau”
This team of three propose a “brand new Science & Learning facility that offers the
opportunity for flexible workshops & exhibitions for the people of Melbourne.”
3. Tom Chan, Marris Dibley, Jenna Rowe – Public Lecture Theatre and Cafe
This team of three propose to “relocate the face of the Royal Society into a state of the art lecture facility right on the most prominent corner of the site,” “redevelop the existing heritage building into the operations base, library and archival facility for the full measure of the Society’s history” and “reposition the Society’s lecture programme into a series of lectures directed for consumption by the wider public.”
4. Nigel Westbrook, Paul Evans & Michael Wentworth-Bell – “Museum of the Hoddle Grid”
This is our 2nd favourite proposal. The team of three proposes to establish a facility to present and explore the history and development of the City of Melbourne, incorporating a green roof area, a “camera obscura” and a rooftop “weather bar and cafe” that incorporates weather data instruments.
5. Room 11 – “Telescope”
This agency proposes to “design a unique passive and public telescope that incorporates site specific physical and exporatory notions,” “refit the interior of the existing Royal Society Building,” and refurbish & reinvigorate the Caretaker’s Cottage.
6. Studio505 – “Anti-Consensus Centre”
This agency proposes to project the “once internalised weather dials and data” out onto a large public display that will reinforce the impact of anthropogenic climate change.
7. Studio505 – “Atom”
This agency proposes a “central hub for scientific & rational thought in Melbourne” by establishing “a spectacle” to “create cultural icons and foster a sense of community” for Victoria’s science tribes.
8. Studio505 – “THE HIVE Drone Launch Facility”
This agency proposes to establish a hive-like facility to launch drones that will deliver products from factory to door within minutes rather than days.
9. Studio505 – “The Three Elements”
This agency proposes to establish a concept based on the scientific branches of mathematics, physics & chemistry. The facility will create “a collaborative environment where public can directly interact with scientists through a multiplicity of workshops”
10. The Space Agency – “Mawson’s Point”
This agency proposes to build “a structure on the site with the appearance of an Arctic Exploration ship, cutting through the intersection of 2 roads like a ship cutting through the ice.” The facility would incorporate a digital gallery a speaker’s corner and an information centre for science in Victoria, with upper levels incorporating a cafe/bar with rooftop deck.
11. Studio505 – “Magnetic Museum”
This agency agrees with Magnus, 4, who asserts “more magnets” would make Melbourne a better place. They propose “the first ever ‘magnetic museum,’ a large hovering exhibition space that shall hold rotating exhibition that centre around themes of the ephemeral, artistic and experiential.”
12. Studio505 – “Recontour”
This is our 3rd favourite proposal. The agency proposes to establish an Indigenous roof garden “to promote & educate the user on Indigenous Australian seasons” and supply a cafe beneath with fresh produce. A “functional water sculpture” is the primary focus of the site.
Vote and let us know which is your favourite proposal: