Newport 2050+ was an idea about initiating an interaction between academia, residents, traders, local council and architects with the view to producing meaningful design visions. Masters Students from Deakin University under the tutelage of Dr Flavia Marcello and Ian Woodcock and using a brief formulated by feedback from Local traders and Hobsons Bay City Council were asked to imagine a range of different futures for Newport as a place.
The studio set out by considering Newport’s future as a node within Melbourne’s West with the task of addressing the character/intensification conundrum: how can low-density cities become sustainable and resilient while maintaining and enhancing urban character and livability? Students compiled group-based urban precinct studies that looked at staged development for immediate intervention right through to scenarios beyond 2050, addressing issues of increased future transit connectivity and identity.
These acted as frameworks for selecting architectural sites and buildings for individual student projects.
On an architectural level, the studio addressed the long-established practice of adaptive building re-use within today’s climate-sensitive society to investigate the low carbon imperatives of working within the ‘enabling constraints’ of existing structures. Students will put forth proposals for a range of buildings and public spaces:
The Substation Arts Hub in the context of a broader arts precinct linked to transit.
Disused rail buildings within a proposal for re-purposing the larger scale rail yards for a broad range of built forms and programs that would include: education, recreation, social housing, retail and office space and the potential future role of urban parks and food production.
Heritage buildings in the precinct around the station (such as the former Flour Mills) for re-purposing with a view to intensification with hybrid programs
Re-imagining Newport Railway Station with reconfigured transit connections as genuine public space that reconnects the 3 precincts of Newport with the West and with the central city.
Incremental intensification of Newport’s traditional small-grain shop fronts with hybrid Programs
Hobsons Bay City Council will be undertaking its precinct structure planning for Newport in the near future . The Council will utilise material generated by this on-site studio process, from views of the local community and the ideas and images from the Deakin students in response, all will be used in a meaningful way within that framework.
The design studio culminated with an exhibition of the students’ work at ‘The Substation’ where the public were asked to nominate individual designs or elements within those designs that they saw as having particular merit, and to engage in discussion about them. The public feedback together with the initial local trader brief /wish list was then forwarded onto council strategic planners who had been liaising with the student group from the outset. A public forum and panel discussing both the students work and the future of Newport itself was held at The Substation.