Against a backdrop of attacks in other countries, where a vehicle was used as weapon, the Australian federal and Victorian state governments sought to enhance security at key locations in the city. Nine sites were selected to benefit from these enhanced security measures. These included Bourke Street Mall in the central business district, where the vehicular attacks took place, and Flinders Street Station, the country’s busiest rail hub, serving more than 100,000 passengers a day. In both instances, our design had to achieve rigorous performance criteria and honor the historic legacy and design intent of the protected areas.
Pedestrian Benches for Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM)
How can you protect an area without violating its design sense? Working closely with the Melbourne Protective Security Enhancement Project Teams, we developed a number of sculptural designs for street furniture that could discreetly blend into the urban streetscape—making it difficult to distinguish HVM and non-HVM measures. A durable concrete barrier was shaped to fit between bespoke stainless steel benches. This approach minimizes the visual impact of the barrier on the streetscape.
Protection When Load Capacity is Small
A protective barrier is often anchored in a civil structure, and its weight is not a matter of much design concern. Protecting the historic Flinders Street Station, opened in 1909, was another matter. The bollards had to go onto sloping slabs which are suspended over train tunnels. So our design had to not exceed the slab load capacity while minimizing load transfer into the slab structure should bollards be struck by a vehicle. To address this need we developed novel means of spreading dynamic loads.
Our engineered solution removed the need to strengthen the slab structure, achieving a significant cost saving for the client. We also sidestepped the cost and inconvenience of needing to reroute roads. By working closely with the project team, including the architect, heritage consultants, City of Melbourne traffic and town planners, we developed measures that are sympathetic to the architectural legacy of one of Australia’s most recognizable structures.