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Victorian Heritage Register
Statement of Significance
What is significant?
Federation Square, designed and constructed between 1996 and 2002, including footings and crash walls between the rail lines; decking over the rail lines; the passive air-conditioning system known as the Labyrinth; the catenary lighting system; landscape elements, including the paved Plaza incorporating the artwork Nearamnew, inscriptions in the bluestone steps and apron facing St Paul’s Court, planters and Yellow Gum trees (Eucalyptus leucoxylon ssp. megalocarpa ‘Rosea’); and buildings (exteriors and some interiors, notably the NGVA interiors).
How is it significant?
Federation Square is of historical, architectural, aesthetic, cultural and technical significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria’s cultural history.
Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural place.
Importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics.
Importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period.
Strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons. This includes the significance of a place to Indigenous peoples as part of their continuing and developing cultural traditions.
Why is it significant?
Federation Square is of historical significance as Victoria’s preeminent memorial to the Federation of Australia (1901). The principle of federation is embedded in the design and planning rationale for Federation Square. The precinct was conceived as an ensemble where no single entity or cultural institution was dominant, and where each component part would have its own identity within the ensemble. This aspiration is expressed in the facade treatments which are based on the ‘Conway Tessellation’, a single triangular element that can be applied in an infinite number of compositional sequences and at multiple scales to achieve variety (or difference) within a coherent whole. Federation is referenced in the Nearamnew artwork by Paul Carter which forms part of the Plaza, and inscriptions in the bluestone steps and apron facing St Paul’s Court. Federation Square is also of historical significance to Victoria as a tangible expression of Melbourne’s long and deeply held aspiration for a large public square for ceremonial, civic, and recreational purposes in the city. (Criterion A)
Federation Square is a notable example of a public square. While it is a mixed-use precinct, the primary function of the place (and a defining aspect of its identity) is as a public square. It is a fine example of its class and displays high quality characteristics including a large, hard-paved and centrally located open space connected by laneways and framed by built form. It is distinguished by the distinctive, coherent and finely resolved architectural language of the principal building’s secondary skins which variously embody aspects of the design principles that underpin Federation Square; the design principles are also expressed in the interior of NGV Australia. The place is also highly valued by groups within the community, another typological characteristic of public squares. (Criterion D)
Federation Square is of significance to Victoria for its aesthetic and architectural qualities. The precinct is a visually distinctive arrangement of non-orthogonal forms that uses a design grammar of lines and fractal geometries to achieve a complex aesthetic of coherence and difference. It is the outcome of a theoretical approach to architectural production informed by LAB Architecture Studio’s intellectual interests, including a rejection of classical (Euclidian) ordering systems and an engagement with the complexities of twenty-first century urban environments. Federation Square is one of the most awarded projects in the history of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) Victoria, and has been critically acclaimed in state, national and international architectural publications. (Criterion E)
Federation Square is significant for its technical and creative achievements. It demonstrates a high degree of creative achievement specifically as related to the innovative architectural language adopted. This language, incorporating non-orthogonal geometries and embedded digital information systems, was innovative and beyond the ordinary for the period (late-1990s). The processes of design and construction (including computer-assisted drafting and 3D modelling techniques), the sustainability systems employed (notably the Labyrinth) and the structural solutions for the crash walls and decking over the railway lines variously demonstrate a high degree of technical achievement as conceived and delivered in the late-1990s. (Criterion F)
Federation Square is socially significant and is valued by communities and cultural groups for a range of cultural and experiential reasons. It is Victoria’s preeminent civic space for formal and informal public gatherings and is regularly used in times of celebration, grief and protest. Federation Square is used and appreciated by communities of locality (the Victorian and/or Melbourne community); affected communities (including visitors to Melbourne); communities of identity (communities for whom the use of Federation Square is part of an annual cycle of events that enables these communities to reaffirm their identity in a prominent public setting); communities of interest (including communities that aim to affirm Federation Square’s civic purpose); and communities of practice (including communities who engage with the site’s cultural institutions and sports enthusiasts) (Criterion G)
FEDERATION SQUARE - Permit ExemptionsGeneral Exemptions:General exemptions apply to all places and objects included in the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR). General exemptions have been designed to allow everyday activities, maintenance and changes to your property, which don’t harm its cultural heritage significance, to proceed without the need to obtain approvals under the Heritage Act 2017.Specific exemptions may also apply to your registered place or object. If applicable, these are listed below. Specific exemptions are tailored to the conservation and management needs of an individual registered place or object and set out works and activities that are exempt from the requirements of a permit. Specific exemptions prevail if they conflict with general exemptions. Find out more about heritage permit exemptions here.Specific Exemptions:Current works (2018-2019)
Maintenance, repair and replacement works throughout the Place
- Internal works associated with the SBS relocation (West Block, Alfred Deakin Building, Levels 2 and 3).
- Internal works associated with the ACMI refurbishment excluding works to theatres) (East Block, Alfred Deakin Building, Basements 1 and 2 and Ground Level Tenancies Nos 6, 7, 8 and 9).
- Internal works associated with the Koorie Heritage Trust relocation (Yarra building, Tenancy Nos 24A and 24C strip out and new fit out to Level 2, Alfred Deakin Building).
- Internal works associated with the Chocolate Buddha refurbishment (Alfred Deakin Building, West Block, Ground Level, Tenancy No 22).
- Internal works associated with the Beer Deluxe refurbishment (Atrium, Tenancy No 17; the Square, Tenancy No 23).
- Internal works associated with upgrades to the Atrium toilets.
- Routine cleaning and maintenance activities including repair of glazing and cladding where the fabric, design, size, form and method of fixing is repaired or replaced like-for-like.
- Repair and maintenance of hard landscaping, including paving and footpaths, where the fabric, design, size, form and method of fixing is repaired or replaced like-for-like.
- Maintenance and replacement of services such as plumbing, electrical cabling, surveillance systems, pipes or fire services, where replacement will not result in an increase in size, or a substantially new location.
- Installation, removal or replacement of garden-watering, fire and other services to the external areas, where replacement will not result in an increase in size, or a substantially new location.
- Repair and maintenance of existing lifts and escalators including mechanisms and associated elements.
- Repainting of previously painted surfaces (internal and external) in the same colour and quality of finish (not including the gallery and foyer of the Ian Potter Centre for which specific exemptions apply).
- Works or activities, including emergency stabilisation, necessary to secure safety where a structure or part of a structure has beenirreparably damaged or destabilised and poses a safety risk to it users or the public, provided no damage is caused to significant fabric
- Repair and maintenance to all existing promotional elements, including billboards and flagpoles.
- Repair and maintenance to areas of the carpark that fall within the extent of registration.
- Maintenance and replacement of existing roof-mounted plant on the Crossbar Building, and Alfred Deakin and NGV buildings, including solar panels and communications installations.
- Maintenance, retrofit and modification works to the deck support structure in order to facilitate continuing railway operations.
- All works within the service slot structures and other parts of the sub-structure which have been separated from railway operations and are managed as part of Federation Square.
Ian Potter Centre, NGV Building
- Installation, removal or replacement of electrical wiring provided that all new wiring in public areas is fully concealed.
- All non-structural works within concealed wall and roof cavities.
- Installation, removal or replacement of plant provided that its size, scale and location is consistent with any existing plant.
- Removal or replacement of carpets and/or flexible floor coverings.
- Removal or replacement of window furnishings such as blinds or curtains and associated hardware.
- Internal works to toilet and washroom spaces throughout.
- Internal works provided there is no impact on the exterior, except within the Ian Potter Centre (NGV Building), Atrium, Alfred Deakin Building and Deakin Edge.
Atrium (Tenancies Nos 3B, 15, 16, 17, 32 and 3D)
- Internal works in NGV gift shop, cafe and back-of-house areas.
- Document displays, provided the works are reversible.
- Replacement of superseded technology to interior areas of the building, including LED signage panels and the like, provided the scale and configuration of the panel is retained.
- Temporary installation for six months or less, and subsequent removal of all structures and equipment required to stage an event or performance in any area, provided the installation methods are reversible.
- Activities associated with the installation of exhibitions in all gallery and foyer spaces provided they are reversible including: Reconfiguration of existing moveable walls and construction of new moveable walls; Installation of plinths, display cases, suspended works and works attached to walls and floors provided the methods of fixing are reversible; Lighting for exhibition purposes; Repainting existing painted gallery walls (excluding grey plastered walls).
Alfred Deakin Building (Tenancies Nos 6, 7, 8 and 9)
- Works to interiors of commercial tenancies, provided there is no impact on the exteriors, including the shared space of the Atrium.
- Internal works, excluding works to the main exhibition space entry stair, the central triple volume space at ground level and theatres, the lining of the walls and the pattern of coloured seating in the ACMI theatres provided there is no impact on the exteriors, including the shared space of the Atrium.
- Temporary installation and removal of all structures and equipment required to stage an event, provided the activities are reversible
- Works to back of house spaces including dressing rooms, green room and toilet areas.
- Internal works, excluding the main stair and stairwell, provided there is no impact on the exterior buildings.
- The process of gardening, mulching, removal or dead plants, disease and weed control, and pruning.
- Like for like replacement of Red Flowering Yellow Gums (Eucalyptus leucoxylon ssp. megalocarpa 'Rosea') with advanced stock specimens of the same variety in the six planter beds within the central plaza.
- Replacement of plantings with matching species (excluding Red Flowering Yellow Gums).
- The removal or pruning of dead or dangerous trees to maintain safety and the management of trees in accordance with Australian Standard: Pruning of Amenity Trees AS 4373-1996. Note: The Executive Director, Heritage Victoria, must be notified of these works within seven days of commencement of works.
- Subsurface works involving the installation, removal or replacement of watering systems or services outside the canopy edge of significant trees in accordance with AS4970.
- Management of trees in accordance with Australian Standard Protection of Trees on Development Sites AS 4970-2009.
- Removal of plants listed as noxious weeds in the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.
- Vegetation protection and management of possums and vermin.
- Non-structural alterations to roadways including River Terrace and Russell Street Extension.
- Maintenance and repair of bollards.
- To the extent that they are not already permitted by permit no P29470 works to the interior of the future Town Hall Metro station provided they are not visible from outside the station building and works below deck level associated with future rail services.
- Introduction of temporary security fencing, scaffolding, hoardings or surveillance systems to prevent unauthorised access or secure public safety for not more than 6 months provided that the works are reversible.
- Installation of temporary exhibits for not more than 6 months provided that the works are reversible.
- Placement, display and removal of signage within all parts of the Place which are not generally accessible to the public.
- Construction, placement, display and removal of signage in the nature of decals/vinyl film and temporary signage (small and large scale) for 6 months or less on internal and external facing areas provided the works are reversible.
- Construction, placement, display and removal of other signage in a publicly accessible area provided it is in accordance with a signage policy endorsed by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria.
LUTHERAN CHURCHVictorian Heritage Register H0015
MITRE TAVERNVictorian Heritage Register H0464
MELBOURNE SAVAGE CLUBVictorian Heritage Register H0025