Simplicity and Exoticism

Na região do Mekong Delta mais ao sul do país a vida é bem menos agitada e as paisagens são mais puras e calmas. / At the Mekong Delta region, south from Saigon, life is less busy and the landscape is purer and calmer.
At the Mekong Delta region, south from Saigon, life is less busy and the landscape is purer and calmer.

 

HCMC, Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, various names for only on city, the largest one in Vietnam. This time I am taking you to one of the most exotic countries I’ve ever had the pleasure to be in. Founded in 1698, it had already been capital of the French colony of Cochinchina, yes, it did exist, maybe that is why so many times we say, “…he/she went to Cochinchina”, isn’t it? (rsrsrsrs) Funny or not, it makes sense now! Well, in Cochinchina, I mean, Saigon, sorry, Ho Chi Minh, there are over nine million people, considering the metropolitan region. This number should get to about fourteen million people by 2025. It is a caos already, heavy insane traffic, pollution, e nothing safe to walk around. Some tourists I met had been robbed the day before when walking around. I confess this is one of the big cities in southeast Asia I always wanted to visit, but I got very disappointed by the lack of infrastructure and quality of life for the population. The social contrast is whopping too. The food though, wonderful! Considered to be one of the healthiest cuisine in the world. But hey, you have to like veggies, seeds, roots and soups, because they are the base for it all, and so very cheap. Now, the reason that took me to Saigon was always coming back to my mind that name “Saigon”, I believe from the movies I watched, I don’t know. It reminded me the Samurais, their strength, power, of their abilities, all of it got me very curious to go check Saigon up close. The name Saigon is still used nowadays to refer to the city, but, the official name is Ho Chi Minh, economic center of the country and representing, in my opinion and passion for architecture and design, by the Bitexco Financial Tower, from the renowned Venezuelan architect Carlos Zapata. This is the second highest building in the country, 68 floors high, almost 263 meters, inspired by the flower of Lotus, national symbol. In 2017 though, the Bitexco will lose its place to the Landmark 81. Now, getting out of the confusion that is Saigon and going to a more calm region and definitely paradisiac of the country, I traveled to the region of the Mekong Delta, in southeast Vietnam. It is there that the Mekong Delta River, flows in the sea by a series of estuaries forming a Delta. In this region you will find several island, each one with a particularity and interesting name, like Unicorn Island for example.

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Transcendental experience being rowed down the canals at the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam. Just amazing!

After navigating part of the Mekong River in a wooden boat, typical in the region, we were welcomed to a traditional vietnamese tea sweetened with honey collected in the very same island, with side of ginger biscuits and some seeds and roots. So very much simple, but indescribable flavors. After the tea we took a canoe guided and paddled by vietnamese women, all in traditional hats, through the Mekong River, where they form the Delta, to the large river. We then got back to the wooden boat and went to another island, full of curiosities and good food, a candy factory and lots of artisans works. The tour finished with the afternoon tea with side of the most exotic and flavorous fruits, accompanied by music and singing that made me feel like if I was in the most pacific place in the world. Visiting Vietnam was a sublime experience.

Do caos do trânsito à simplicidade dos vendedores de rua, a rotina vietnamita impressiona e assusta ao mesmo tempo. / From the transit chaos to the simplicity of the street salespersons, the routing of the vietnamese people impresses and scares at the same time.
From the transit chaos to the simplicity of the street salespersons, the routing of the vietnamese people impresses and scares at the same time.

 

SO-A-DEE-CRAB!

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The Arun temple (Wat Arun), or the Dawn Temple at the margin of the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, Thailand.

Or “hi” in thai! This time I am taking you to one of the largest cities in southeast Asia, Bangkok, capital city of Thailand, one of the cities I was more curious about in that side of the world. Bangkok is the most populous, and main financial, cultural and historic center of Thailand. One of the positive sides of that country is that us, Brazilians, don’t need to pay to get in or out of its borders. A few small details are enough for them to accept us in vacation there. A few other nationalities like the American, need to pay a fee to get in. At first moment they confused me as being american and sent me to the wrong line, soon I noticed that mistake and moved to the right one. It is in fact very confusing the process of immigration once you are there, so, pay attention! They are quite unorganized. This was quite a bit disappointing, because not many are the thai people, even in the capital city, able to speak proper english. The chaotic traffic and lots of air pollution, also did not made me any happier. For times I felt like I was in some areas of São Paulo, in Brazil. But let’s talk about what matters most, it is in the capital city of Thailand that the Grand Royal Palace is. Yes, they are still governed by a royal family. Everywhere you see the face of the King and the Queen in big outdoor and signs. As far as I could understand, the royal couple is loved by the majority of the population. From 1782 to 1925, the royal family used to live at the Grand Palace, this complex of buildings in the heart of Bangkok, but the current monarch, lives in the Chitralada Palace. The big palace though, still is used for official events. Many royal cerimonies and government events are hosted there every year. That palace is one of the main tourist attractions in Thailand. But be ready, there is a dressing code to get in there, I was not allowed to get in because I was wearing ripped jeans on my knees. So, I had to go back out, rent a part of pants not ripped and go back. It was worth every cent, walking past all those areas inside the almost 220.000 square meters built in a close to rectangular shape, and surrounded by high walls.

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At the Royal Palace in Thailand, city of Bangkok, capital city of the country. Nothing but fascinating in its architecture.

The construction of the Grand Royal Palace initiated in 1782 when the king Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I), the founder of the Chakri dynasty, moved the capital city from Thonburi to Bangkok. During the many successive reigns, many buildings and new structures were added to the complex. Mainly during the reign of the king Rama V. It is very interesting to notice that, different from many other countries where the palace is divided internally in just one building, the Grand Royal Palace in Thailand is divided in many other buildings, halls, gardens, plazas and patios. One of the most distinctive buildings is the Emerald Buda Temple, or Wat Phra Kaew. It consists in fact, of a Royal Chapel, inside the borders of the palace. This temple is surrounded the four sides by a series of walled cloisters, seven gates different one from another. Besides that temple, all the others are very much the pretentious Thai architectural style. I also visited many others temples and historic marks of that country, including the Big Budday more south of the country, in Phuket. With sensational views of the thai beaches, elephant rides, tiger kingdom, a lot of great beautiful food, extremely spicy though, cheap hotels but with high quality, very welcoming people and lots of great weather, what made this trip AMAZING was to be able to meet a friend from Thailand I shared house with eight years ago when I was living in the USA. Such an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Com minha queridíssima Panarat Suvannarat, amiga de longa data, em Bangkok, capital da Tailândia. / With my beautiful Panarat Suvannarat, BFF, in Bangkok, capital city of Thailand.
With my beautiful Panarat Suvannarat, BFF, in Bangkok, capital city of Thailand.

Between Incense and Architecture

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At the Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple in Bali, Indonesia.

It’s quite common to walk in Bali and find one temple every two houses built there. I did not find anywhere else, in the eight countries I visited this 30 day trip of mine in Asia, that much worship. It is usual that every morning you should take a shower and walk to the temple to worship the island’s Gods, praying and bringing them some offering, usually that is a small basket with flowers and incense. The same ritual shall be repeated at the end of the afternoon, before getting dark. As you walk around the streets in Kuta, the largest city, and also the busiest one on this Island, in Indonesia. Bali was the second destination of my trip, when there, you feel you are wandering through clouds of incense.

Uma amostra da arquitetura balinesa que se pode encontrar andando pelas ruas na ilha de Bali, Indonesia. / A sample of the balinese architecture you can find walking around in the island of Bali, Indonesia.
A sample of the balinese architecture you can find walking around in the island of Bali, Indonesia.

That’s everywhere, a sensation of tranquility is inspired every step you take. Also found in any stores in the city, they also make the offer with flowers and incense in every door you enter, as a sign of respect for the Gods protectors of the island. But hey, don’t you stay on in Kuta, there are lots of beautiful things to do everywhere else there. One of the best in my opinion, the Uluwatu Temple, a temple of the XI century, also known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, meaning ‘Ulu” at the top, ‘watu’ of the rock, and it is one of the six temples  belonging to spiritual pillars, worldly known for being located in a magnificent place of the island, on a cliff 70 meters high above the indian sea. From there it is also possible to appreciate one of the most stunning sunsets of that side of the world. The Uluwatu temple is built in Balinese architecture, with lots of traditional aspects of that island, and many ancient sculptures. Lots of traces found there, prove the temple’s origin to be from the meghalitic and refer to the tenth century. There are two ways into this temple, one north other south. There’s also a nearby forest, close to one of the entries, inhabitated for hundreds of monkeys. The legend tells, the monkeys protect the temple from the bad influences. A winding narrow walled street in concrete secures the temple along the cliffs. To cross it, it takes about an hour from one side to other. The Balinese hindus believe the three divine powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva become one in this place. This belief turns the Uluwatu temple in a place of worship to Siva Rudra, the balinese hindu divinity of all the elements and aspects of life and universe. This temple is also dedicated to protect Bali from the marine demons. Legend has it, the architect of the Uluwatu temple is Dhang Hyang Dwijendra. He is said to be the architect of other many temples in Bali as well, and also in other locations in Indonesia like Lombok and Sumbawa. Up to 1983, the access to the temple was difficult and dangerous. In 1999, a lightning set fire and brought down part of the temple where it hit. But, and that sounds very curious, even though the temple stands on a cliff by the ocean, there never was a big erosion under the its lands. The Balinese believe that is one of the biggest demonstrations of the God’s protection to the temple. With a culture driven to worship of their Gods and divine spirits, visiting Bali is much more than enjoying some of the most paradisiac beaches in the world, the immersion in those sacred rituals, washes the soul in a very refreshing way.

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AT the wall along the cliff crossing from one side to another at the Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple in Bali, Indonesia.

The Lion among the Tigers

O Marina Bay Sands, complexo com hotel e shopping center e o Leão símbolo de Cingapura. / The Marina Bay Sands, hotel and shopping center complex, and the Lion, Singapore's symbol.
The Marina Bay Sands, hotel and shopping center complex, and the Lion, Singapore’s symbol.

The first destination of my 30 day adventure in Asia was one of the countries belonging to the group of the four asian tigers. Singapore was founded in 1819 and has developed amazingly ever since. Independent since 1863 from the british sovereign, and soon after, in 1865 from the neighbor Malaysia. Singapore is one of the largest business centers, fourth largest in the world. It is also among the five bigger ports with highest traffic in the world. There are four official languages there, among them English, what was good, because it was one of the few places of this trip of my where I could easily communicate.

Uma das simpáticas pessoas que pediu foto comigo lá em Cingapura. / One of the great spirit persons who asked for a photo with me in Singapore.
One of the great spirit persons who asked for a photo with me in Singapore.

The city’s symbol is the tiger, almost a literal translation to the word Singapore, a small country compared to so many others in the world, curiously formed by 63 islands, and growing. Another portion of land should be included to this country next decades. There are over 7 thousand multinational companies installed in Singapore. These companies have their head offices in countries like the USA, European continent and Japan. Another two thousand are from China and India. One of the main reason for this impressive number is due to the fact that Singapore is one of the less corrupt countries in the globe, beside New Zealand and the Scandinavian countries, far, far away from Brazil’s reality on that list. It is also in Singapore that there is the highest percentage of millionaires in the world. The social contrast is hardly noticed, that is due to the fact that among the governmental programs is one that provides between 400 to 1000 singapore dollares a month to homeless people, besides free medical care, money for school tuition for children, rent of a studio apartment, and besides that, training for professional courses. Well, as you’ve seen, this country provides all the support their people need to live a life with dignity and, mainly, develop themselves. But hey! What about the architecture there? Each building seems to be the perfect component to a marvelous composition big artwork. Everywhere you can notice they are not just playing around when they gift us with stunning buildings. The walk along the bay is a delight to the eyes of all architecture and design lover. Just about there I took over 200 photos. There are so many details and fascinating projects to be observed. From the most traditional colonial style, from the Second World War, to other ones, a lot more contrasting from the after war and post colonial period. And that does not include the Buddhist temples you see everywhere. Wrapped in this ocean of styles, european neoclassic, gothic, palladianism and renaissance, outstanding is the Marina Bay Sands, that one with a cruiser shape top. Developed by the Las Vegas Sands (LVS), it stands as the second most expensive building in the world, initially budgeted in 5.5 billion american dollars to be built, the 560.000 square meters complex, rocketed in costs of matherials and labor, reaching the bagatelle of 8 billion of the same currency to be finished. With an spectacular architecture, safety on the streets and a singular people, people who would stop me on the streets to take photos with me, I still don’t know the very reason, visiting Singapore and being able to tell about my adventure there to you, was the perfect beginning to my trip.

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Incrível vista noturna da baía de Singapura do edifício One Raffles Place. / Amazing night views of the Singapore bay from the One Raffles Place building.

City of Temples

No Angkor Wat, o maior templo em arquitetura Khmer do Camboja, na cidade de Siem Reap. / At the Agkor Wat, the largest temple in Khmer architecture in Cambodia, city of Siem Reap.
At the Agkor Wat, the largest temple in Khmer architecture in Cambodia, city of Siem Reap.

When I was in Cambodia, fifth destination of my thirty-day adventure through Asia, I came across not just one a “new” country, recently opened to tourism, but a country filled with friendship and affection values ​​among its people, and mixed with the fantastic architecture of the temples of the twelfth century, like I had never seen before anywhere else. The country of Cambodia, was opened to the world, nearly 20 years ago only. With a unique tourist potential, Cambodia is growing apace and you can see expansion works everywhere. New ligament highways, major gas stations and businesses settling in various parts of the country. An example of this rapid expansion is remarkable when one considers, for example, the number of hotels, which grew from 14 to 300, several of them five-star, in the last 20 years. The trip I made from Ho Chi Minh (formerly known as Saigon) in Vietnam, was a 470 kilometers long one to Siem Reap, Cambodia, and took me more than 13 hours by bus. It was a tough and tiring journey by long rough and dusty dirty roads, but a cheap way to get there, since there are only a few companies that fly between these cities, making the lack of competitiveness, cause the airline tickets to cost around $ 200 dollars for a flight less than 1 hour long. Going by bus was also a great opportunity to see a lot of what is changing while going from one country to the other. Siem Reap, Cambodia, whose name translates literally as “Lost to Thailand”, refers to conflicts of hundreds of years ago between those countries.

Onde tive o melhor dessa aventura, tudo surpreendeu! / Where I had the best out of this adventure, it all surprised me!
Where I had the best out of this adventure, it all surprised me!

Siem Reap is a city that attracts thousands of tourists due to the Angkor architecture temples, also known as the ancient city. They are numerous, and more interesting than the other, because each one has its peculiarities. These temples refer to the twelfth century, and are built on large scale, real stone palaces among beautiful natural sceneries, making you sometimes feel and imagine how the kings and the people of that time lived there. A real trip back in time into a world that for many of us, unfortunately, is just too far away. It was an amazing experience, which I take with me for the rest of my life. Cambodia is surely a country to which I would return again and again! To view Cambodia through my eyes, visit my album on my Facebook  page and find hundreds of photos that will make you have at least a little idea of ​​what I am trying to describe here for you. Until next month!

Ta Prohm, onde a natureza parece demonstrar sua força, retomando seu lugar de direito. / Ta Prohm, where nature seems to show its strength, taking over its right place.
Ta Prohm, where nature seems to show its strength, taking over its right place.

Asiadventure

Oito países, trinta dias e uma paixão. Primeiro destino: Cingapura! / Eight countries, thirty days and one passion. First destination: Singapore!
Eight countries, thirty days and one passion. First destination: Singapore!

In one of my previous articles I wrote about the tallest buildings in the world. Among them, outstanding, are the Petronas Towers, also known as Twin Towers in Malaysia, the Marina Bay Sands, one of the most expensive projects ever done in the world, in Singapore, and of course, the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Portão de embarque desta aventura de 30 dias. / Boarding gate to this 30 day adventure.
Boarding gate to this 30 day adventure. In Brisbane, Australia.

Well, here I am, this very moment, at the international airport of Brisbane in Australia, writing to you I will have the amazing chance of getting to know some of these architecture, design and engineering world marks this January, in a 30 day trip through Asia. In about an hour and a half, I will board to an adventure I have never ever experienced before. I will this month, that just started, visit eight countries and at least ten cities. My first stop will be Singapore, a small but of strong economic power country. Singapore is very rich in Contemporary architecture. My second stop will be Bali in Indonesia, where I will visit temples of the ancient world, those belonging to the Buddhist religion. From Bali I’ll board to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, where I will have the pleasure to appreciate from up close the Twin Towers, I can’t wait! Then, from the modern architecture of Kuala Lumpur I will be immersed in the contrasting architecture of Ho Chi Minh City, before, known as Saigon, in Vietnam. This country is filled with temples and ancient history. I then cross Vietnam on a bus trip which promises to be at least curious to Cambodia. In Cambodia, besides the Khmer architecture of the beginning of the VIII century, lives a population that is known to be one of the most welcoming of Asia. The next stop is in Bangkok, capital city of Thailand, a city with many attractions, and also formed by building of the ancient and modern world. That city began to rise with the arrival of the French people in 1665. Still in Thailand I will spend a few days in Phuket, a beach paradise, cause I am not the iron man and this life on the air bridge is also tiring. I will relax at the beach, but not for long because they also have plenty of thai architecture to be seen there. Now, from the summer time in Thailand I will this time fly to the below freezing temperatures winter in South Korea on the northern hemisphere. I never thought I would one day end up in South Korea, but I am extremely anxious to see what I will find there, it promises to be one of the most interesting destinations of this adventure of mine. I am sure you will love to see some of the South Korean architecture from the VII century on. And, just after visiting those amazing temples in South Korea, I will land right in the middle of the “insane” architecture of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. That will make us notice how much the world has changed, and a lot of it we can notice watching the most amazing buildings and even artificial islands there are there. Well well, wish me luck. It is a pleasure to me to write to you about this adventure of mine. Now, let me go board the plane because they are calling me already. Cheers mate!

Voei de Etihad, grande parte destas viagens, e posso dizer, um dos menores espaços entre bancos na área econômica que já encontrei. Realmente inesperado! / I traveled long distances with Etihad during these trips and I have to say, they have one of the most little space between seats in economy I have ever seen. Real shame!
I traveled long distances with Etihad during these trips and I have to say, they have one of the most little space between seats in economy I have ever seen. Real shame!

 

Glamour and Tradition

English version coming soon!

Portal das flores no parque Flemington de Corridas de Cavalo em Melbourne. / The flowers portal at the Flemington Racecourse Park in Melbourne.
The flowers portal at the Flemington Racecourse Park in Melbourne.

 

Dentro do parque uma estátua de cavalo. Ao fundo, o centro da cidade de Melbourne. / Inside the park, a horse statue. At the back, Melbourne's downtown.
Inside the park, a horse statue. At the back, Melbourne’s downtown.

 

A pista de corrida pronta para receber o evento. Um dos principais do calendário australiano. / The racecourse ready for the event. This is one of the most important events of the australian calendar.
The racecourse ready for the event. This is one of the most important events of the australian calendar.

 

O parque é realmente lindo, são diversas áreas de convivência e com diferentes atrações. / The park is stunning, there are several different areas you can stay at with the most various attractions.
The park is stunning, there are several different areas you can stay at with the most various attractions.

 

Flores estão por todo lugar. / Flowers are everywhere.
Flowers are everywhere.

 

Capricho em cada detalhe. / Attention to every single detail.
Attention to every single detail.

 

Waste or challenge?

One Hundred floors, 319 meters high and at least 1100 apartments. The new Melbourne skyscraper, “Australia 108”, to be built nearby the apartment building I live in, will take over the title of highest building in the South Hemisphere. Along, and also already approved for construction, other two residential towers of 75 and 54 floors, will be built in the central area of Melbourne, creating together, another almost 1000 apartments. Main reasons? These high-rise apartment buildings would already be part of the city’s urban expansion plan, bringing together the current reality in Melbourne, which promises to be the first truly 24h city in Australia, and also, the largest city in number of inhabitants over the next few decades. For those new towers to be built, at least 6000 new jobs will be created and investments of 800 million dollars are estimated. Eureka Tower, which I had mentioned in my first article, is currently Melburne’s tallest building with 297.3 meters and 92 floors. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in the world, this building will have it’s number one place taken over by the future neighbor, the Australia 108, proudly though, because when finished, the Australia 108 will also make Melbourne became, once again, the Australian city with the tallest building. Today, the Q1 (Queensland Number One) in the city of Gold Coast, with 322.5 meters, is Australia’s tallest building. I still like Eureka Tower better! Leading the list of the south hemisphere tallest buildings, currently is the Sky Tower, in neighbor country New Zealand, in the city of Auckland, being 328 meters high. Nothing compared to the almost 830 meters high Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, today the tallest building in the north hemisphere and in the world, having 163 floors and costing about 1.5 billion dollars to be built, finished in 2010. Second in the list, is the Tokyo Sky Tree in Japan, with 634 meters of height. Other famous buildings in the list are: The Freedom Tower in New York, the highest one in the ocidental hemisphere, built after the Twin Towers were crashed by airplanes in 2001, it is 541.3 meters high; the Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan, being 509 meters high, and the Twin Towers (also known as Petronas Towers) in Malaysia, with 452 meters of height. In Brazil, the most famous skyscraper has got to be the Edifício Itália, having 46 floors and 165 meters of height, in the city of São Paulo. But, it will be taken over by the Millenium Palace building, estimated to be fully finished this year, also having 46 floors, but being 177 meters high, in the city of Balneário Camboriú, in my home State, Santa Catarina. As if all of it wasn’t enough, again, our eyes turn back to the Arabian countries. Already being built, and with initial plans of being 1 mile high (1.6 kilometers), the Kingdom Tower, in Saudi Arabia, will be the tallest building ever built, of all times. Due to the area’s geological conditions though, it was necessary to readjust it’s height to “only” 1000 meters. Projected by the same architect, Mr. Adrian Smith, who projected the current tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa in neighbor United Arab Emirates, city of Dubai, the Kingdom Tower, in Saudi Arabia, is estimated to cost 4.6 billion dollars and to have 167 floors, 59 lifts and built area of 319.000 square meters. Just the basis where this tower will sit in is supposed to be 600 meters deep from the land surface. All of it makes me wonder, and I believe it might make you too, is this really necessary? At one point of view, it is a crazy fantastic engineering challenge, at another point of view, it is a highly spent of our natural resources, isn’t it? I have to confess I haven’t come to a conclusion about such matter. For more information, links to videos and other photos, access my profile on Facebook. Cheers mate! See you next time.

Australia’s Sweetheart

O arco dos relógios. Tradicional ponto de encontro da Estação. / The clocks arch, popular meeting point at the station.
The clocks arch, popular meeting point at the station.

In my first article I had commented about Flinders Street train station here in Melbourne, which once was the busiest train station around the world. It is situated in this magnificent centenary building, built in 1910 in french renaissance architecture in the heart of the city. A true cultural icon and for long considered to be one of Australia’s most significant symbols, it features, in its beautiful architecture, arched central entrance, a large main dome above the roofs and tower of clocks on the south side.

A Estação da Rua Flinders vista do terraço do prédio de esquina com a Rua Elizabeth. / The Flinders Street Station as seen from the terrace of the corner building with Elizabeth Street.
The Flinders Street Station as seen from the terrace of the corner building with Elizabeth Street.

A hundred and fifty thousand people train by its 11 boarding platforms every day and the trains leave about every 5 minutes to several suburbs and cities nearby. This number is supposed to reach 440.000 of people in 2021. For quite a long while though, Flinders Street Station has been begging for modernization, tired of its already more than 100 years old in the active and also due to the increase of the city’s population number.

O arco dos relógios, fachada principal da Estação. / The clocks arch, main facade of the Station.
The clocks arch, main facade of the Station.

There are various rooms, like the ball room, the gymnasium, the old library, the billiards room and the concert’s room under the main dome, that have been denied access to general public by decades, wishing to be revitalized. A real shame!

A primeira plataforma, vista da segunda plataforma. São 14 no total. / Platform one, seen from platform 2. They are 14 in total.
Platform one, seen from platform 2. They are 14 in total.

Well, to our luck, in 2011, the Government of Victoria, launched an international competition to revitalize and restore the station. The prize, 1 million dollars, to the winner project, attracted 118 proposals, coming from all over the world. Some of the criteria were the need to present a creative design thinking project to bring new life to this building, and, which makes it easier for the community to access the station, as much as that it kept and restored the important historical elements it features, like its facade and administrative areas, those we love. It should be a design proposal that better blended with the current abstract architecture Melbourne has going on, modern but without losing characteristic traces of its originality, improving the transportation purpose of the station, along with the important link it plays for the cyclists, trams, buses, taxis and most importantly, to the pedestrians.

A belíssima torre do relógio. / The marvelous clock tower.
The marvelous clock tower on a common cloudy day in Melbs.

From the 118 proposals were selected 6 finalists. In the images you can notice the impact those projects would cause to the community. Futuristic, gardened, square, round, audacious, the projects are fascinating and look like they are from another world, but this is the idea, to cause impact and escape from the frugal, as many other buildings in Australia do. Finally the winner was decided in August 2013, described as a “modern hub of transportation for the 21st century”, having a public plaza and a amphitheater facing the river, among other mandatory requirements. The judges called the project “beautiful and with convincing integration of the original architecture aspects, strongly reinforcing its status of exit gate”. However, Melbourne’s community showed divergent reactions, some called it a classical modern proposal and others labeled it as space ship or “giant cannelloni”. Anyway, even though all the efforts to elect a winner were made, up to now, no agreement has been sealed, to wether the implementation of this 2 billion project, will happen or not. Particularly, I consider the winner project, among the 6 finalists, one of my two favorites. I am fascinated by architecture and buildings with modern design but in keeping with it originality and would love to see the foundation stone launched before I have to leave Australia. Specially because, as it is the closest to my home, I often take trains at Flinders Street Station and I do believe the winner project associates perfectly well with the other big building designs in Melbourne, for the fourth time elected the most livable city in the world. Other congratulations, for your recently completed 179 years of foundation Melbourne. Cheers mate! See you next time.

A estação enfeitada para Natal. / The station ready for Christmas.
A estação enfeitada para Natal. / The station ready for Christmas.