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Squaring off the square

14 Feb 2012

Squaring off the square Image

It may be well established as a meeting place for Melburnians and visitors, but according the architect Marcus O’Reilly Queensbridge Square still has plenty of development left.

Mr O’Reilly should know, he’s the designer behind both the vent on the Queensbridge Rd side of the square and the centrepiece red stage and stairs.

He believes the trees surrounding both of his items are the final piece of the puzzle for the public space.

“A city square isn’t just a whole lot of open space, it has to be defined,” Mr O’Reilly said, adding: “We generated the wall to close the square and to block off the car park behind it.”

“The road had to be neutralised, so the vent was built and the trees help to hide the road.”

As the trees on either side grow so to will the distinct boundary of the square.

The vent, a huge fan surrounded by the O’Reilly designed wooden creation pays homage to the areas railway history.

“The structure is an abstract reminder of the railway line that passed through, the vent uses wood that resembles the sleepers from a track,” Mr O’Reilly pointed out.

Five years after his two structures were put in place, Mr O’Reilly is thrilled by the response to them, especially the red stairs being used as a meeting place for all of Melbourne.

“The council were looking for what would be a nice mix. Somewhere for people to have a small scale get together, or a gathering point – any city needs those sorts of spaces.”

“It is amazing. A lot of people come in to Melbourne and their friends here say, let’s meet at the red stairs. It’s easily identifiable by the colour and shape.”

Mr O’Reilly is also proud of the quality materials used during the creation of his structures. He knows they have to still be in top condition when the trees are fully grown and the square is at its peak.

“The timber we used will last for a very long time, with just a few coats of paint to keep it maintained.”

Perhaps the biggest compliment for Mr O’Reilly is the respect Melburnians seem to have for his creations, saying: “Neither have hardly had any graffiti, which I see as a real thumbs up to the work.”

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Comments

  • Steve at 5:24pm on 22/02/12

    I think the red stairs are ugly and deface the Freshwater precinct. The picture in the paper shows one person sitting on them. Way to go for popularity!
    How about we put the red blocks back into Mr O'Reillys' toy box and plant a few trees and some seating for lunch to be eaten in an enjoyable location, rather than a lifeless, block of red nothing.

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