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Developer implores government to improve visual outcome of sky rail with innovative design concept

Property Markets / Planning, Zoning, Infrastructure


May 15 2017

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A prominent figure in Melbourne’s development industry has come up with a concept to disguise the controversial new sky rail overpasses in order to reduce the visual impact of the elevated sections, and is urging the Government to explore similar options in order to improve the amenity of the unsightly eyesores.

Sean Hogan, a senior development manager at a leading development company, has devised a concept based on other viaduct projects from around the world, which he says would vastly improve the visual impact of the structures and could discourage graffiti which is already plaguing construction.

Hogan’s concept involves a light-weight membrane that is structurally independent of the rail infrastructure, which can be affixed either during construction or retro-fitted to existing structures. 

The structure would be clad with a highly reflective mirror-like material which would reflect surrounding landscaping at ground level, thus hiding the concrete structure while reflecting and drawing the eye to the landscaped areas below. 

Hogan said he created the concept after seeing similar structures interstate and overseas which failed to provide any sort of net benefit to the immediate areas affected by the viaducts. 

“I wanted to explore how we could create spaces under and around the viaducts where people feel comfortable and want to linger. There is the potential to create some real amenity by leveraging off the landscape and making the concrete structures almost invisible to local residents and passers-by. 

“The primary consideration is creating amenity in areas of high public use and visibility.  This could be applied in precincts where landscaping is in place or proposed to be provided.  The reflective nature of the cladding could then increase the effect of this greenery.  It was never envisaged to cover the entire length of the sky train structures but to be applied in the more sensitive areas.”

Hogan says the Government should take on the responsibility to create a more appropriate visual outcome, especially around built-up residential areas where view lines will be grossly impacted.

 “Many of the areas where the sky rail is being constructed are established residential zones where local businesses, homes and public areas will be impacted. 

“My concept aims to improve the public amenity in a cost-effective and relatively swift manner, to significantly reduce the visual impact of the concrete structures.”

“If left untreated I am concerned these areas may encourage anti-social and dangerous behaviour, so by applying this simple yet effective design concept, we can start to encourage positive interactions with the sky rail that create a completely different response. 

“The act of eradicating level crossings is a sound one so I am not opposed to the sky rail itself, however I believe that the Government needs to be doing more to ensure these concrete structures will not impact on the amenity of the surrounding areas,” he said. 

 “This is still just a concept, so there is plenty of detail to be explored.  The concept requires engineering, drainage, structure and materials to be considered and refined, and there may also an opportunity to address noise attenuation at the same time. 

“At least by starting the conversation we can begin to put the idea on the public agenda and make local communities and the government aware of some of the positive outcomes that can be explored,” he said. 

SOURCE: Press Release


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