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Mont Albert and Union Station

As part of the Level Crossing Removal Programme, ASPECT Studios collaborated with the South Eastern Program Alliance to eliminate two of Melbourne’s most congested railway crossings at Mont Albert and Union Roads. The project involved trenching the rail line and consolidating Mont Albert and Surrey Hills Stations into the new Union Station. 

The landscape concept was to respect the leafy, heritage character of the surrounding neighbourhoods and integrate new station into a sensitive, low-rise suburban setting. Great care was taken to reimagine the public realm associated with a new station build, whilst respecting the unique qualities of the area. 
  • CLIENT South Eastern Program Alliance (Laing O’Rourke, Jacobs, LXRP, MTM)
  • Location Surrey Hills, Melbourne, Australia
  • Year 2019-2023
At Union Road, a widened bridge structure over the rail trench doubles as a new civic plaza, activated by a climbable sculpture, whilst a former car park was converted into a terraced seating garden as a public amenity. 

Sustainability principles include a major integrated bio-retention basin which integrates water sensitive urban infrastructure with natural ecosystems through a major bio-retention basin of native planting.  
The new landscape forges strong links between the two sides of the tracks, knitting together the two local shopping precincts and supporting a vibrant village culture. Layered canopies, traditional materials and soft colours help to integrate the new infrastructure supporting Union Station with its surrounds. The canopies allow for natural, dappled light to filter through to the two main concourses, which can be accessed by pedestrians via four separate entrances.  

The former Mont Albert Station building was preserved, providing a public plaza which floats over the new rail trench; this connects Mont Albert Village across the rail corridor whilst providing a “Heritage Deck” that celebrates the local history. 
Existing public spaces have been expanded and enhanced to form part of a larger network of parks and plazas around the station. In the south, Lorne Parade Reserve has seen improvements, including the addition of a nature-based play space, and land on Montrose Street has been repurposed as a pocket park and an inviting entrance for the station. Sculptures by local artist Emily Floyd take pride of place on each side; key markers on the station’s approach and expanding on neighbourhood character and identity. 
The entire corridor is linked by a 2km active transport link, forming the first part of the Box Hill to Hawthorn Strategic Cycling Corridor. 

The core design challenge lay in accommodating the 1.3-kilometre trench, the new station, and road and pathway systems, in a way that respected and enhanced what was already there. The design solution was formed out of intense collaboration with local councils and the community, and the success of the result lies not only in the removal of dangerous and congested level crossings, but also in its creation of an expansive contribution to the public life of this place. 
  • TEAM Hassell, South Eastern Program Alliance (Laing O’Rourke, Jacobs, LXRP, MTM)
  • Photography ASPECT Studios and Serco Drone Photography