City West Police Complex engages with the street to integrate with the cityscape

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The City West Police Complex is a facility for Victoria Police serving the western division of the Melbourne City and Docklands. The complex includes a public police station and corporate police offices with a 24 hour public plaza and private roof garden.

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The landscape concept focuses on how the plaza engages with the street to ensure it is integrated with the cityscape to create a sense of place and a sense of connectivity. From the functional elements of steps and ramps, the high quality materiality, to the creation of the protected grass, winter garden space, the plaza has been designed to become an integrated part of the city’s green space network.

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Security requirements demanded an innovative collaboration with architects, engineers and landscape architects to design a secure public space while at the same time providing a welcoming plaza within police station environs. Where the complete vehicle exclusion zone to the perimeter was required, the landscape response was to use planter walls with spilling garden beds and seating blocks to reduce the number of bollards. Wide sweeping ramps blur the edge of the street and encourage pedestrians to walk through the space as part of their journey and offers a place to sit and linger.

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The plaza provides for the Corporate Police Centre and the Public Police Station. The central dining terrace is a busy lunch space for detectives, sergeants, visitors and passers-by.

A central lawn space is an open space for a calendar of events, from police ceremonies, ANZAC services, and recruitment drives, to community art & cultural events such as markets, art installations and AFL grand final screenings.

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A restrained material choice complements the contemporary architecture and Melbourne City character. The ground plane is paved with a field of sawn bluestone with white granite bands that subtly reference police uniform rank stripes.

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The soft garden beds counteract the strong geometry and hard landscape with a green, lush and native plant palette. The rain garden to the extent of the Latrobe Street frontage filters run-off from the architectural canopy through a garden bed of native wetland species.

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The roof garden offers a quiet green retreat and allows for the Police officers to enjoy communal meals with an outdoor kitchen with barbeques.

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The resulting landscape to City West Police contributes greatly to the public realm in the broader precinct, creating a congregation point and handsomely executed thoroughfare. The decisive geometry and robust material palette is for a purpose, being appropriate as a built environment representation of a police force, serving their community – strong, legible, direct and transparent.

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City West Police Complex

Location | 313 Spencer Street, Docklands, VIC, Australia

Design Firm |  Tract Consultants 
Consultants | Woods Bagot
Fabio Ongarato

Images | Robyn Meyer

Text | Mel Currey