Universal Square Plan
The Universal Square plan shows considerable changes to the University Square site. These include:
- The closure to car traffic of both Barry St, Leicester St and Pelham St in the areas surrounding Universal Square. Grattan St has been reduced to a single lane.
- Textured pedestrian priority zones are added to the corner of Pelham and Barry St; Bouverie St linking the Pelham St precinct with Lincoln Square; and the Grattan St crossing to the University of Melbourne Parkville Campus.
- The 2D triangular pattern from the car park roof has been developed further into a 3D tessellating form. This creates subtle level changes for the Northern civic space that help the square merge with the streets, provides multifunction seating areas and raised garden beds.
- The curvilinear edge of the southern park area bordering with new paved peripheral pathways breaks with the traditional rectilinear edge of University Square. This further blends the site with its surrounds, meanwhile creating space for impromptu gatherings and providing thoroughfare for cyclists, pedestrians and utility vehicles.
- Interior pathways have been reoriented to create more meaningful connections between places of importance, such as the creative studios, Pelham precinct and the northern civic space. The intersection of the pathways creates spaces to for more intimate gatherings, shelter from the summer sun and increases the likelihood of serendipitous encounters. There is also the potential for artist groups to curate these areas in public art exhibitions.
- The current elms have been thinned in a staged replacement program. This creates space for new successive plants to grown, breaks with the current rectilinear planting design and opens the space up to the surrounding streets.
- Three contour water-harvesting rain gardens collect and filter water for a large subsurface water tank located under the town square in the south. This aims to setup the Square to be water self-sufficient throughout the year.
- New food vendors replace the centre parking of the Pelham St precinct. With outdoor seating combined with the surrounding artist studios, galleries and community spaces, the precinct will have vibrant street-life that draws people to the area.