A Stop at Station Place / by Nathan Judd

Light rail will transform Canberra over the next decades.

Our recent entry  for an ideas competition took the opportunity to explore how light rail can transform the way we create new urban precincts in this city - we chose to explore the opportunities of a total redevelopment of the entire block between Dickson and Northbourne avenue.

We employed the Light rail as an instrument to bisect the site to create a 'smart industry' commercial edge to Dickson and an apartment village beside Northbourne avenue.  By defining a new urban corridor through the site  - aptly named Station Street - we would be able to generate exciting activity and a new gateway development for Canberra.

Our scheme explores how the new light rail stops can be employed to create new urban squares - ‘Station Place’ - linking passengers and residents to Cape St at the eastern edge and to a new bus interchange located within the Northbourne median.  A ribbon canopy leads passengers to their destinations, providing incidental shelter by day and a place of wonder at night.

a pedestrian precinct

This new urban fabric could develop into a fine grain residential community independent of the car, with only service vehicles accessing the site.  The precinct would offer an intuitive transport experience with easy connections for foot, bike, bus and rail.

A series of pocket parks of varied character and scale would provide relief and interest throughout the year - playing on Canberra’s seasonal changes.  The ground plane can be informed by a garden city idea integrating private and shared landscaped areas that relate to the new Station Street pedestrian and rail spine.

Light rail could be transformative for Canberra, but only if we have the courage to boldly reimagine our urban fabric to tune into this new paradigm.