Midland Railway Square by PLACE Laboratory

Railway Square is a new public square constructed in the former Midland Railway Workshops. The Workshops are a cluster of late 19th century industrial buildings undergoing thoughtful restoration to create an urban village for a new era. Retaining its authentic, industrial feel, the new urban village will be home to a range of residential, commercial, health, education, entertainment and creative industry uses.

Key to the character and history of the site was the Shunting Yards, the site of the Railway Square, which was the main area for manoeuvring locomotives, worker gatherings, ceremonies and political gatherings. The Shunting Yards have been identified as a place of exceptional significance and are to be preserved as an open public space that will interpret and celebrate the history of the site and provide a major civic gathering and festival space for Midland and the eastern region.

The space has been designed as a new contemporary public space by PLACE Laboratory, interpreting the sites former use by transforming heavy rail infrastructure into new social infrastructure. Under the guidance of the MRA and a design team lead by PLACE Laboratory, Railway Square is being transformed into a new civic heart for Midland, providing a destination public space surrounded by restaurants, cafes, a hotel, apartments and refurbished heritage listed buildings.

The design of the square brings together storytelling and place activation to create an inviting space for everyday use by locals and a high-performance event space capable of hosting larger events for the broader community.

One of the unique design elements within the project is the custom designed Water Line mist-scape.

The Water Line has been designed to interpret the movement and colours of the site as well as introducing a water play element within the project. The Water Line is a mist-scape that projects a fine water mist that recalls the smoke, steam and movement that was previously found on site. In addition the mist also provides a canvas for coloured light projections and illuminations.

The fogging water feature has been designed as an integrated element within the plaza. Two 130mm wide channel drains are aligned with the interpretive rail tracks to house the water and lighting infrastructure. The channel drain ties-in with the civil drainage scheme, which utilises channel drains throughout the site and provide a secure, trafficable and robust housing for the water feature.

This feature was originally published in moool.com.