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Fresh ideas for Seafarers Rest

02 Dec 2014

Fresh ideas for Seafarers Rest Image

An exotic butterfly house, a eucalyptus woodland and platformed steps down to the riverfront are just some of the ways RMIT students would transform Seafarers Rest.

Some 16 architecture students were asked to respond to the currently derelict site adjacent to the Mission to Seafarers as part of a landscape architecture studio led by Helen Day and Lucinda McLean.

“The aim of the teaching and design studio was to develop skills in designing for people in large urban space,” Ms Day said.

Students met with public space experts from the City of Melbourne along with the Mission to Seafarers’ general manager Bill Reid.

“Bill Reid tasked the students to integrate a new entry to the Mission to Seafarers, addressing the Seafarers Rest,” Ms Day said.

One of the conceptual ideas produced by the student Minarwa Shrestra was “Seafarers Woodland” which is described as “a tranquil eucalyptus woodland between the heavily trafficked Wurundjeri Way and the new entry to the mission, capturing some of the informal and textured qualities of the remnant heritage materials and wild vegetation.”

Student Akyol Chad Cagatay devised “Awakening Seafarers Rest”, a concept that would see the decrepit Shed 5 adapted as an exotic butterfly house and construction of a second shed for a native butterfly house. A butterfly and bee-attracting garden would be developed at the entry to the mission.

According to Mr Reid, the ideas that have emerged through the design studio are “fresh” and “unencumbered by past concepts”.

“Not all of the ideas are practical but they’re very novel,” he said.

“In particular, the idea of turning the shed into a butterfly enclosure, while really out there, would certainly attract people.”

The refurbishment of Seafarers Rest park is already on the cards as part of developer Asset 1’s $90 million North Wharf redevelopment.

Work is yet to begin on the project and a time-frame for commencement of construction is yet to be announced.

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