Federation Square as designed by Peter Davidson and Donald Bates from Lab Architecture Studio in London has come under much scrutiny since its opening in 2002 from varying sources, ranging from Melbournians through to industry professionals. These opinions largely concern the aesthetic composition and scale of the space, and it is apparent that fence sitters are few and far between in this debate, as the words most usually thrown around in its regard are LOVE or HATE.
Dr John Macarthur of the University of Queensland finds the composition of Federation Square "refreshing", he feels that though "some of the spaces of Federation Square are novel, unfamiliar, and indeed illegible to the public", yet he feels that this is the exact degree of novelty that the public can digest when safely bracketed by other 'familiar' architecture. It is in his opinion the "unintelligibility of modern art and architecture" that in fact call the public to its site.
As a 13 year old when Federation Square first opened, I recall being overwhelmed by its modern magnificence. However, a few years later, more more brooding 16 year old post idealistic self just couldn't find the appeal once the site had settled into its location. Even though I could understand the space and its justifications, I couldn't bare it, yet still there was something that was continually drawing me to look..
Through the processes of this semester, my 25 year old self whilst undertaking my body of work ‘Melbourne: A City in Photographs’, I felt moved to create, or more identify something I could relate to from this Melbourne icon - and it was then that I understood the space both in its exterior and its interior, for shape. Not the overall landscape, more so the intricate placement of shapes to create a whole.
From this I have isolated two shapes that comprise Federation Square and designed a make which speaks of Melbourne and its forthcoming modern landscape. The initial idea is indicated via the sketch below.