Great public spaces are born of the delicate balance between formal and informal use, providing a framework for the unexpected and the unplanned. Few places demonstrate this civic virtue better than the promenade, where the joys of strolling and people-watching come together. Changing attitudes however, to recreation, and in particular the increased speed of roller-blading, jogging and cycling, have come into conflict with the gentler art of the stroll.

The St Kilda foreshore promenade is one such place where competing needs and desires had, over time, resulted in a dysfunctional public space. Incompatible activities coupled with dilapidated infrastructure had resulted in user stress and an increase in the frequency of collisions.

The decision was made to resolve these issues by redesigning a wider and more dynamic promenade, where multiple and diverse activities are encouraged. Importantly, the scheme expanded the scope of the promenade to embrace the St Kilda Seabaths, Stokehouse and Donavans restaurant, enabling these buildings to integrate their commercial activities with the promenade experience.

The design solution also addressed significant issues regarding public circulation and conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and rollerbladers, whilst improving ramps for universal access. The result is a space that balances contemporary recreational needs with the timeless desire for time out and the spectacle of people watching.

Awards:

RAIA Victorian Architecture Awards - Urban Design Award
2009

Date:

2009

Gross Floor Area:

700 m of foreshore

Client:

City of Port Phillip

Photography:

John Gollings