Inside the Square
Anyone who has built or renovated a house could imagine the nightmare of constructing a $450 million civic and cultural landmark to a radical design (not a right angle in sight) by architects with no previous building experience.
In 1997 the Victorian Government paved the way for one of the great civic spaces of the 21st century on top of the railway yards which divided the city of Melbourne from the river. An international competition was held and Federation Square was awarded to two unknown London-based architects who, incredibly, had never built anything.
Despite years of teaching and running their own architectural practice, the unorthodox designs of Peter Davidson and Don Bates had literally never left the drawing board. Now they were being asked to build Australia’s biggest public project since the Opera House. And, like the Opera House, there has been a plethora of issues and obstacles to overcome; political interference, budget blowouts, delays, shoddy workmanship and strained relationships.
Inside the Square looks at what it takes to realise a vision of this magnitude.
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