10 Murray Street in Hobart, labelled an “eyesore” in today’s Hobart Mercury , is to tumble to make way for a new development.
The new development is by developers Citta and rather busy architects, FJMT. From the several documents I read at the project website , the government seemed to be more interested in public feedback than expert advice in selecting the winner.
The 1967 building, which extends 11m below ground, will be demolished at a cost of $8M and will be replaced by a $45.5M building of similar size but further from the street. Another $4.5M will go to the public space the demolition will reveal. One has to wonder what could have been done with a $58M budget to renovate the existing building.
So, before the demise of yet another brutalist building, some words from the Australian Heritage Register , where the building has “indicative place” status.
The State Offices building is exemplary of a philosophy of building type (the multi-storey office block), and a continuation of the International style of the post-war period. It is a particularly well executed example of the movement and the best Tasmanian example of high-rise offices of this period.
The style of building is associated with functionalism and abstract art. It was formulated on rationality and simplicity that asserted itself as economy and efficiency in architectural design. The Modernist ‘messages’ of form, space and view are evident in the vertical expression of the external concrete frame as the ‘form of line ‘a graphical grid. The internal free form plan, allows multiple arrangements of space:- the design also emphasises the outward-looking view.
Dirk Bolt of Hartley Wilson & Partners was primarily responsible for this design. The work of the firm, and of Bolt, has long been recognised as outstanding in the history of Tasmanian architecture. Other notable examples are Christ College, Sandy Bay and buildings on the Cadbury’s site at Claremont.
The State Offices building was recommended for inclusion on the National Estates Register in the ’90s.
The problem with listing of buildings like this is that it just confirms the suspicion that architects are clueless about their outcomes of their own profession. This building is symptomatic of the planning malaise that has turned what should be an urbane Georgian City into a collection of isolated objects surrounded by rivers of traffic. The building may well be a great example of 1970’s Australian Brutalism but it also brutalises its surrounds.
by RJ on 30 August 09 ·#
While I can see some merit to the proposal it is disappointing that Hobart feels the need to demolish one of its few true skyscrapers in such a prominent position. I’ve always been impressed by the city’s Sydney-like CBD but I would have thought the city needed to “beef up” more than anything. Salamanca obsession has obviously spelled its doom but apart from that area, Hobart isn’t a great heritage city per se. It also has some rather haphazard old planning going on (that section in particular has street rhythms that don’t make much sense) and also plenty of large sites with vacant car parks. So firstly why single out this building. Secondly why replace it with a rather irregular and boring low rise development and 1960s style open plaza ?
Hobart doesn’t need more empty space. It has plenty already, especially around that area, that is often unused. It also doesn’t have the climate for a lot of lounging around outside. This space will become an embarrassment, a hangout for smokers and skaters etc. Why sell off a perfectly good building to developers (at bargain prices)? It doesn’t make economic sense for a small government. More importantly, considering what a great building it is – can we afford to lose a building like this from Hobart? It will not be replaced, either literally or figuratively.
by Briony on 15 September 09 ·#
^ what’s wrong with smokers or skaters?
by luke on 17 September 09 ·#
Nothing’s wrong with them. I just mean it won’t have the intended effect because we don’t have a big population and it’s not a central position. The space may be used by a handful of people, which is not the point of this kind of development and bad economics.
by Briony on 18 September 09 ·#
Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=272007590649&ref=ts#/group.php?gid=272007590649
by peter on 23 September 09 ·#
A number of better brutalist/modern heritage buildings in Hobart have been demolished in the last 15 years without a peep from the local architectural community. I fear this is simply sour grapes as architects have not been given the job. For what it is worth, both the scheme proposed and the current building are moderate at best, therefore we should attribute value by other measures. Good Urban design princples are a huge plus – Hobart lacks cohesion. Another question may be framed around environmental values – at a superficial level knocking down offices to make offices seems a little daft but then comes the old running cost argument, perhaps a third option of adaptive re-use could be proposed here?
by Glenn Cream on 3 November 09 ·#
i’d say that’s sour grapes from the local architects, Glenn? lolz.
hobartians love knocking down a good modern building, Glenn. anyways – who needs adaptive re-use in this day and age?
tasmania progressive? pffft.
btw, the new square will be a nice public servant hangout, not sure i’d stop by on my way to the markets or knoppies, and pretty sure the skater’s will have better places to go… seems dumb, courtyards to the south and all, blocked from the waterfront.
by love.buckets on 3 November 09 ·#
replacement building looks like a shite copy of donovan hill qld style.
seems a bit weird for tassy?
I revise my opinion about keeping the old thing. lesser of two mediocrities?
by hairdresser on 3 November 09 ·#
oh yeah that link to heritage register is an eye opener peter.
written with the intention of facilitating its demolition?
by hairdresser on 4 November 09 ·#