Concept E: Simple Balance
This concept proposes to ‘appease everyone and excite no one’. It accommodates a complete reactivated Civic Hall, Central Library extension upwards and outwards, a commercial office tower incorporating five-storeys of car parking, and a strip of two-storey retail and office spaces along Armstrong Street, each of which could be developed in clear stages with public and private support.
The placement of each volume, consolidating height to the North-East, and leaving the South open maintains the current open spaces, and allows these to be reconsidered as pedestrian public spaces in their own right. The concept also attempts to activate the whole site by drawing activity North. The only significant architectural feature –a long two-storey glass wall –creates a secluded long garden forecourt to the Central Library and an East-West plaza for indoor and outdoor markets on an axis pointing over the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative, to Market Street and the Railway Station clock-tower. The South edge of Mair Street is reserved for a large setback Civic Plaza, connecting to the CBD via Armstrong Street. A quiet, internal courtyard is left between Armstrong Street shops and the Civic Hall.
Concept E suggests that all key preferences for the site can be accommodated together in a simple efficient masterplan, and create some valuable public open spaces without requiring spectacular architectural tricks.