The completion of the Reservoir Station project – designed by Genton in collaboration with landscape architects McGregor Coxall – reveals a considered approach to transport infrastructure in Australia that draws in urban design considerations of the wider municipality to inform the Architectural response. Genton’s design process reflects the importance of designing built environments that go beyond the delivery of the practical – achieved through our team’s commitment to addressing both cultural and social context, relevant to the community that the infrastructure serves.

Reservoir Station is another completed train station project from our team, having built on the ideas of our award-winning design of Frankston Station. The emphasis on the celebration of local history and future potential is guided by the aspiration to activate the local precinct for everyone who lives, works or passes through the area. The station is the first elevated rail project in Melbourne’s northern suburbs – a project delivered by the North West Program Alliance, which includes the Level Crossing Removal Project, Metro Trains Melbourne, John Holland and KBR.

A key driver of our urban design strategy was to re-connect two disparate high streets – Edwardes Street and Broadway – by creating a welcoming and exciting central public space that enhances the pedestrian experience and contributes to the activation of the broader retail precinct.

The design solution involved wrapping the elevated platform in a translucent canopy, large enough to define the station as a prominent civic landmark. The structure is divided into a larger and smaller canopy, and, with the opposing angles of these canopies acting as an arch to define the edges of the ground-level public space. The outcome is a clear visual connection between Edwardes Street and Broadway, with the central connection of a ground-level public forecourt forming a stepping-stone for pedestrians and commuters moving between the two high streets.

‘The importance of a light-filled platform is intended to make these spaces feel uplifting and joyous for daily users. The perforated skin serves a dual-purpose for the station, balancing the needs of weather protection with the desire for views, air and light, Genton Principal, Marc Debney, explains. The anodised finish on the perforated facade screen, as well as the pattern and break-up of the façade, was inspired by the changing, rippling nature of water – a reference to the history of Reservoir as the key water infrastructure of Melbourne, with the corridor and location of Melbourne’s original water reserve being immediately adjacent to the site.

‘Polished black concrete outer walls protect the perimeter of the station, while a lighter stainless-steel cladding provides a contrast for the interior spaces,’ explains Genton Principal, Jamie McCutcheon. ‘These more robust materials also reflect the character of Reservoir-a middle-ring Melbourne suburb-while the brown bricks in the station forecourt reference the suburban inter-war and post-war Architecture of the area.’

Sustainability initiatives in Genton’s design approach – such as the use of recycled glass sand in the concrete, the inclusion of rainwater storage and remote metering of water and energy consumption – saw Reservoir Station recognised as the first Five-Star Greenstar Rail Building in Victoria.

The design of the station has both created a central beacon for the suburb, informed by history of the place, while also reconnecting the two retail high streets, enhancing safety and activation of the area with transformational benefits that will develop over the years to come.

Photography: Peter Clarke