In December 2019, the City of Stonnington completed the successful transformation of the old Cato Street carpark into a modern urban parkland. Adopting the new name of Prahran Square, the expansive urban park has introduced 10,000m2 of much-needed open space to the dense Chapel Street precinct, creating a new setting for markets, festivals, gatherings and community activities. Parking has not been compromised – rather, improved, with two underground storeys of car parking able to accommodate 500 vehicles.
The area was thoughtfully designed by Lyons Architecture and Aspect Studios, with separate spaces within the square having a different purpose and feel. Much like an amphitheatre, each side of Prahran Square faces downward into the centre, enabling opportunities for future activities such as open-air concerts. The widened corners of the square provide increased visibility from the ground level, and are furnished with large circular planter seats that entice passers-by to enter the square.
The circular planter seats were pieced together from curved concrete modules manufactured locally by SVC. Gleaming white in the sunlight, the large-format planters can only be described as things of beauty, demonstrating a smooth, silky finish and impressive curvature that is not often expressed in concrete.