The inner city suburb of Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, Australia, had for many years been the home of venues that nurtured such musical talent as the Saints, the Go Betweens, Powderfinger, Savage Garden, Keith Urban, and the Bee Gees. Now internationally known for its live music and nightclubs, the area’s creative arts community and Chinatown precinct have drawn youth and lifestyle fashion retailers, commercial tenants, and significant residential development back to “the Valley.”
The Fortitude Valley train station is the third busiest in the Queensland Rails Network, and required a substantial upgrade to meet ongoing operational requirements and the demands of the increasingly discerning Brisbane public.
The Buchan Group worked with the project team to solve significant design challenges, including solutions for disability access, station identity, circulation, wayfinding signage, rail information, and promotional requirements. Equally important to the design team was the station’s role as a transport hub within this culturally significant precinct of the city. The concept design phase focused particular emphasis in integrating the Valley’s cultural significance into an instantly recognizable, sustainable visual theme for the station.
This theme is strongly expressed through environmental graphics. Repeating patterns and rhythms appear in the architectural forms, while the names and words of musicians, bands, and songs appear among static and moving abstractions of sound waves in works by prominent local artists. Large photomontage artworks along the platforms offer glimpses of Valley icons. Passengers enter and leave the station over abstract tile patterns depicting musical notation in Braille.
The new station entry is now a striking visual presence within the shopping center’s main court, providing a new focus for the Valley Metro as a dynamic meeting space. Soundwave graphics and projection art on the glass façade along with station identity and train information screens add to the dynamism.
At construction, many initiatives were taken to balance the requirements of economy against maintenance of service to its customers, such as high levels of modularity and standardization of elements to facilitate off-site fabrication, integration of dynamic advertising panels within facades, and the extensive use of artwork as a means to discourage vandalism and graffiti. The project was constructed AUD$1 million under budget and two months ahead of schedule.
The expectation is that the a new image for the station can add to the texture of the Valley Metro and enhance it as a social setting that can contribute to the richness of the Valley Precinct as a whole.
Greg Sheehan (principal in charge), Gary Edmonds (senior designer, environmental graphics), Steve Nikolaou (project architect), Tom Connolly (designer), Gupreet Bal (documentation)
The Buchan Group
Urban Art Projects (art curators and design)
Colour Synergy (vinyl graphics), Albert Smith Signs (wayfinding signage)