The redevelopment of the Box Hill, (Victoria) laneways follows a minimalistic approach. An approach from the outset that allows one to perceive differentlyÖand discover beauty where one would never have perceived it before. (S, M,L,XL. Rem Koolhaus and Bruce Mau, The Monacelli Press) The project is enriched by subtle, incremental changes that invite users to re/discover their city. It harnesses physical and social change, and enlivens a dead space.
The Box Hill site is subservient to its context. It is bounded by a newly constructed mall and bordered by two main roads – Whitehorse Road and Station Street, in the heart of the Box Hill CBD. The laneways are in a prime position for improved pedestrian movements and within a stone’s throw of the transport interchange and institutional, medical, educational precincts and mass development occurring in this Principal Activity Centre and Transit City.
The approach to enlivening the laneways is minimalistic. It is woven with an Asian influence ñ an existence that dominates the immediate surrounds and offers additional importance to maximising use of the lanes. The project involves a series of activations that respect the urban architecture and landscape forms. The activations will be staged and will harness various local and state project partners – local artists, local education institutions, the youth of Box Hill.
The approach provides a rearticulation of space. Provision of niche activities. Activations through Summer events. The creation of colour concentrations. The channelling of movements. The plans envisage vibrant entry gateways for maximum contrast against the monotonous urban backdrop, seasonally changed ephemeral artworks, permeations of colour and lighting for excitement and enthralling, seasonal night cinemas, hawker night markets, produce day marketsÖ to simply bring life to the lanes.
The project is evolving, and community consultation is underway to allow Council and its community to reclaim dead space, and encourage people to venture beyond the known.