Citylink Power Street Loop Competition – March 2015 – SHORTLISTED

In February – March 2015 Citylink along with Landcare Australia ran a competition to regenerate the Power Street off ramp. It is the first competition of its kind that Citylink has run. Since the Loop’s creation in 2000, there has been significant residential and commercial development in the area and it has emerged as the city’s arts and cultural heart.

The competition had more than 85 teams registered. John Henry Architects were shortlisted out of all the entries. The design was described as interesting but too controversial, however it was seen to be a fun, bold, intriguing piece of artwork that was a conversation generator.

John Henry Architects summary for the entry is as follows:

This proposal is a commentary on Melbourne’s cultural heritage and urban amenity.
Road to Peril references freeways affecting¬† inner urban environments and leads the observer to the much maligned public sculpture Vault(aka The Yellow Peril) presently located outside the¬†Australian Centre for Contemporary Art both in style and geography. Vault isa key work in Melbourne’s public art collection, and of considerable historical importance to the City.

The playful referential elevated freeway folly sits lightly on the site, but is in a semi collapsed and distorted state simulating the form of Vault but includes trapped cars – a political statement for inner urban residents.

The installation leads to observer to the third (and hopefully permanent home) of The Yellow Peril – a cultural statement.
Road to Peril is a playful statement about the challenges of a modern sophisticated City and Melbourne’s citizenry roles and commentary in shaping its future. It will create its own public interest.

1. The proposal (art piece) is an image of a partly collapsed freeway bridge that sits above the competition site taking up minimal space on the ground. This allows the proposed landscaping, wetlands and fauna to develop around the installation. An example of this is the Citylink freeway intersecting at Flemington Road. The area in between is created into a wetland with an art installation and the freeway bridge over the Moonee Ponds creek.
The bold yellow colour of the bridge contrasts against the natural greens and grey colours on site. It also references the Flemington Road sculpture and Vault at ACCA.

2. The current arts precinct suddenly ends at Sturt St where ACCA and Vault are located. This installation continues the arts precinct across the road, with the big yellow collapsing bridge connecting to Vault (yellow peril), and then into the Melbourne road network. What was an abrupt end now seamlessly connects.

3. The design can easily be installed. It follows standard construction techniques built from clad steel frame to resemble a bridge, while remaining lightweight and cost effective. Cars for the installation can be sourced from local wreckers and spray painted various colours.

4. The Installation has a literal and theoretical connection to Vault (the yellow peril) and furthermore the arts precinct. This is enhanced by the use of a light display at night connecting the broader art community. This is done by local artist’s light displays projected on the bridge and business advertising on the digital billboard, potentially funding the site. It also references the Melbourne white light event.

5. This design aims to do a lot on a small site. It brings roads, art and nature all together without any one compromising the other. This piece is site specific but the way in which the piece came to be can be used for many other difficult spaces within Australian cities. It would be hoped that other Citylink loops could undergo the same procedure and be known for not only roads but art as well. This art piece would contribute to the art profile already synonymous with the Citylink label. This installation gives life and fun back into what would be seen as a vacant dead space within the city.

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