Parliament Square – original proposal (FJMT + Citta)
Six days ago, the Tasmanian government introduced a bill to remove Hobart’s Parliament Square project from the planning process, where it has been battled over since 2009 (at least). Late tonight, the fast-tracked bill was passed 10-4, according to Save 10 Murray spokesperson Briony Kidd.
The new bill removes all planning impediments and rights to appeal, and pulls all buildings on the site out of the heritage register. The bill was introduced soon after the Supreme Court, for the second time, overturned an approval handed down by the Planning Appeal Tribunal. Justice Blow said at the time that the tribunal had failed to consider “the prudence or imprudence of alternatives to [the] demolition” of 2-4 Salamanca Place. This was in response to the Planning Tribunal’s conclusion that retaining the heritage-listed Government Printer’s Office wasn’t “prudent and feasible”.
The threatened 10 Murray Street State Office Building (1967)
The new bill removes all rights of the Heritage Council to reinstate buildings to the Heritage Register under the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995, unless the Planning Minister is in agreement – which is rather unlikely.
The bill received support from Labor, The Liberals, Citta, The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce, and was opposed by the Planning Institute and The Greens… and of course Save 10 Murray.
The bill states that any action or proceeding against it, or Judicial Review of it, is not permitted, by anyone. This short and hastily-written bill reads as if it has been written in a state of anger.
The renouncement of rights to object by any means to parliament’s approval of a scheme already rejected by the courts is not exactly unusual in Australia – the Victorian Planning Minister routinely does the same. This doesn’t stop it from being utterly depressing. The minimally-resourced Save 10 Murray group has been playing by the rules for three years, with a valid cause, and has now basically been told that any further noise from them and they’ll get smacked with a fine made just for them – up to $6,500, followed by up to $1,300 per day that they remain mischievous. I think it’s a sad day for Hobart, and any group there who thinks they might have the democratic right to question a development and be taken seriously.
[edited 23/11 – the Supreme Court action concerned 2-4 Salamanca Place, not 10 Murray Street, which does not have a heritage listing (it was nominated for one by the AIA but never assessed).]
10 Murray Street architect Dirk Bolt’s opinion piece in The Mercury
the image of the proposed Parliament Square project currently used extensively in the media is in fact the first proposal that was rejected in the first tribunal hearing ironically because it had an adverse impact on the heritage values of Parliament House in particular and Sullivans Cove in general. Setback, height and massing changes were imposed to preserve views of Parliament House without the imposition of the new offices overbearing the symbol of Democracy….further irony as that was the principal criticism of the Ten Murray Street building…despite this circumstance being similar to many cities in Australia including Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
by Paul Johnston on 21 November 12 ·#
Thanks Paul, will alter the caption. I found the image on the front page of the Parliament Square website yesterday – maybe they didn’t want to believe it was rejected?
by peter on 22 November 12 ·#
they continue to use that image and we have yet to see the revised project from the same vantage point !
by Paul Johnston on 27 November 12 ·#
Having had their appeal to the planning court rejected, the Save 10 Murray team are gearing up to take it to the Supreme Court. This requires them to have $30,000 available in the event that they lose. Please consider pledging something here, but please do it as soon as you can. If there aren’t enough funds by the 14th of March, they can’t proceed.
The Supreme Court battle will be fought on legal technicalities, which are described on the Save 10 Murray website. The team has legal advice that they have a case.
I met the 10 Murray team last week in Hobart and was as impressed by their enthusiasm as I was depressed at their description of the tangled politics behind the development. I then popped up to take some photos of the building. Wandering right around it I found a crooked and knotted network of laneways and carparks and backs of buildings that made me question why they want to blow it all away for a plaza open to Southerly gales.
The Federation Square aspirations of the Parliament square scheme don’t make much sense on site. There will be no crowds here other than government bureaucrats trying to light their fags in the wind. The plaza will be ringed by government offices rather than cultural institutions. It will be a cul-de-sac.
The whole parliamentary precinct behind the parliament building is to be sold to Citta for $7.5M, then Citta will construct them a 6 star building which the government will lease back. The government will kindly pay them $8M to bulldoze 10 Murray. Does that sound a bit like the government is paying $500,000 to a private developer to take their land off them?
[pic by me. 2011]
08.03.11 in heritage
The appeal by the Save 10 Murray group against Hobart’s Parliament Square redevelopment has been rejected by the Resources Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal.
The group appealed the Sullivan Cove Waterfront Authority and Tasmanian Heritage Council’s approval of the redevelopment because, “a culturally and architecturally significant building, the iconic 10 Murray Street, was to be demolished”.
This looks like the end of the road for the protest, as the next rather costly step is to take the fight to the Supreme Court.
Save 10 Murray spokesperson Briony Kidd spoke to the ABC : “We’ve obviously put quite a lot of time and resources into the appeal up until now, which we were all happy to do because we do feel very passionately about this, but there are limits to what we can do.”
16.02.11 in heritage
On the day before the night before Christmas, the latest episode in a year of courtroom tussling over a key site in Hobart.
At the Supreme Court of Tasmania’s last session of the year, Justice Wood upheld an appeal against the Appeals Tribunal’s determination that the Salamanca Place printing building was improperly listed on the heritage register used by the Heritage Council to approve its upcoming demolition. Phew. Easy to get that wrong, as the ABC appeared to – they illustrated their article with a picture of the State Offices at 10 Murray Street.
It has all gotten rather confusing this year as the Parliament Square proposal bounced around the Hobart courts. The confusion not helped by Newspeak press releases by the Tasmanian Treasurer Michael Aird:
“This revised planning application will run in parallel to the current appeal process for the original planning permit.” ( PDF )
That was an announcement in August for a new planning application by Citta Group, a month after a revised design was knocked back by the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal. The Tribunal appeared ticked off that, having had their original planning application approved by The Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority, Citta Group came back with a larger design “in response to conditions of the permit”. The revisions would require substantial messing about with the Murray Street frontage and the public square in order to fit in another level of car parking, though this hadn’t been shown on the drawings. The Tribunal found that the revised design was just too far from the design that had been taken to the public in 2009:
“The proposal is fundamentally different. It is different in shape, size, impact, appearance and its relationship with its surrounds.”
Aird didn’t respond well to the Tribunal’s determination, saying that the revised proposal was in fact smaller than the original, and the, “the project will go ahead”. He told the Mercury he supported the application, and was considering special laws to fast -track the project. He has referred the Tribunal’s verdict to the Solicitor-General.
Developers Citta Group didn’t take the news too well either, lashing out at the government:
It seems to us extraordinary that we were encouraged by the Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority to amend the design with their support but then had the amended project thrown out by the RMPAT with limited opportunity to present the proposal.
The Sullivan Cove Waterfront Authority is a government-appointed planning body that includes the State Government architect Peter Poulet on its Design Panel.
Aird’s frustration could to be due to his department’s twin responsibilities for offloading the eight government buildings as part of the Government Property Disposal Program, and running the development process. These don’t gel terribly well with the Tasmanian Justice Department’s diverse responsibilities for planning, design, and the courts.
In the Treasury’s Parliament Square FAQs , they ask themselves whether the parliament square redevelopment will be “part of the waterfront master planning”. ALthough the site falls within the boundary of the Sullivans Cove Master Plan, Treasury informs us that the, “recently appointed State Architect has been fully briefed on the PS redevelopment and will be mindful of it in his consideration of waterfront master planning.” They then refer back to their community consultation sessions in 2009 as if that was the end of the matter for them.
It was never going to be easy. One end of government sells off a block of government buildings to a developer for peanuts so that they will then rebuild some of them and lease them back to the government. Add other government departments less PPP-attuned. Add a bunch of 556 pesky architects and artists with their eyes on an old concrete building. And lastly, add one of the original architects, Dirk Bolt, questioning the sustainability of demolishing one tall building so that a 5 star one can be built:
There is a perception that 10 Murray Street is old-fashioned and that demolition is modern. This is mistaken. Demolition expresses the throw-away mentality that is as typical of the late 20th century as the building is of the 1960s but, like the building, the throw-away idea is no longer modern. In 2009, to be modern means to treasure both natural and built environments and to safeguard these as assets.
According to contacts in Tasmania, the Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority is now considering the redevelopment of Hobart’s Parliament Square. This includes the demolition of 10 Murray Street ( previously featured ). As the campaign to save the building mounts, I thought I would take the (late night) time to see what its primary architect, Dirk Bolt, thinks of it all.
I found Dirk, aged 79, in Edinburgh, where he has been watching events unfold over the last year. He was contacted a few months ago by heritage architects working for either the developers or the government, and sent them information on the building, and a few questions – they have not yet responded. Other than that he has not been approached to comment on the demolition.
Dirk’s involvement was limited to the concept design, and the design was advanced and developed by David Wilson after his departure from Tasmania. One change to occur after Bolt left the isle was the relocation of the building.
“This was based on the response to the earlier design by the then Director of Public Works and his view of the wishes of Parliament which, I seem to recall, required the distance between Parliament House and the new building to be increased.”
10 MURRAY (RED ROOF)
It is a touch ironic that the present wielders of power have approved a Citta/FJMT scheme that moves the building mass down to the other end of the site.
Architect Richard Francis-Jones reasoned that the building did not fit, and lessened development opportunities.
“I like buildings from [that] period and that building does have qualities but a city is not about individual buildings, no matter what you think about them, it is how they go together, scale and their relationship with the surrounds.
“And that building fails on those accounts and it inhibits the development of this site enormously.
“But there was doubt and we looked at it closely and our original thinking was to retain it and lower its scale and take some floors off and make it fit better, but it wasn’t as good as we could do for the space.”
Interesting to contrast this with Bolt’s reasoning, in the rather different architectural climate of mid Sixties Hobart. These fragments are of a sketch used to demonstrate how his early design respected its context.
Bolt: “This design is shown on the attached copies of three of the four parts of a perspective of the parliament square/waterfront area, showing the whole of the Hobart waterfront and the buildings on Franklin Square etc. The purposes of the drawing were to:
Dirk Bolt continues, “I think it is a pity that the State Offices building is perceived as not being harmonious with its setting, whilst the very essence of the original intention was the opposite.”
“Although some features of the design are common in architecture today they were, at that time and as far as I know, new, or at least ‘original’ in the sense that they found their origin in the setting and the circumstances of the design itself.”
Original design features included:
Many argue that the building fails by today’s standards of heritage contextualism (ie please be invisible), but how long can the current perspectives last? Given a few more years, would 10 Murray Street have been seen as having its own importance, worthy of preserving?
But, as Francis-Jones says, the main reasoning behind the demolition is not about heritage at all, it is about urban design and development opportunities around the new square. The Hobart Mercury sees parallels between this development and the demolition of the Gas and Fuel towers in Melbourne for a people-friendly Federation Square, which the design of Parliament Square mimics in several respects. Except that in Hobart, they will just get the shops and cafes facing a big empty space – the cultural institutions are elsewhere.
In related news, FJMT were recently announced as architects of the nearby Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery redevelopment.
18.10.09 in heritage
Bolt building is not bad – just average. suppose there is a case for preserving plodding english brutalism – but its hardly an economist building.
by hairdresser on 20 October 09 ·#
If by average you mean of equal merit to most of the buildings around Hobart (which is the city it is located in, and surely that is the most relevant measure), then I can assure you that it is not average at all. Perhaps it is Hobart’s Economist building?
by Joan on 20 October 09 ·#
Esmond Dorney is not average.
I’ve seen this one. Its no Economist.
preservation on simply contextual grounds = institutionalised mediocrity.
Its not even a historical argument – its dress code.
by hairdresser on 21 October 09 ·#
hairdresser, another dull argument ?
by cabbie on 21 October 09 ·#
no – this ones not exactly dull cabbie. its not brutalism maybe?
its more your beaux-arts wearing a brutalist coat. – hairdresser happy to support what Murray St. really is. A slightly stiff piece of conservative municipal modernism. But couldn’t bring myself to be un-erudite + sign a brutalism petition. preservationists need to tighten up their arguments a bit? Its not a bad piece of urban massing.
I hear its shot full of asbestos from head to toe so no matter what its an expensive gut out. won’t be much left inside when they are through scraping it clean? unfortunately.
by hairdresser on 22 October 09 ·#
having read that link to MERCURY – can’t agree with RFJ. Its certainly not a poor building. Thats hyperbole. Orig architect has his head screwed on i guess – argues unsentimentally for keeping the shell. Probably be the only one talking sense – the keepers wan’t to overcook it and the demo lobby typically talk it way down.
by hairdresser on 22 October 09 ·#
agreed hd, bolt is the only one making any sense.
the pro lifers have their nickers in a knot and the aborters want to destroy cause it doesn’t work with their grand design gesture.
in the end its an office building, to some it maybe a significant piece of a certain style, but its an office building.
be interesting to hear what the users of the building have to say about it, forget the design rhetoric for a second.
other than bolt, this sounds like more blackshirt navel gazing all round.
by cabbie on 22 October 09 ·#
right cabbie. we know abortionists r practical people.
but pro lifers r crazy.
who can forget the harold holt fiasco. Earnest lovers o modernism lined up with dazzle lucifer as if he was the author of the building they imagined was there? – when all he did was drive it out the documenting door, inherit the commission from Big Kev’s office ashes and then proceed to destroy a masterpiece with his own mediorcre interventions and additions within a few years of it being built.
Became a joke to listen to cassandra & co. get worked up about a “brutalist” building i’d lay good money down they never even saw in the window of opportunity when it was really there. alls left was kevin b’s ramp and stair in the corner by the time they blew hot air – 95% of it was an accretion of dazzle dumbell and a joke firm. daz woulda smiled himself to sleep every night that was going down – was angling for the job to fix/perpetuate his own ordinary fuckups?
Doesn’t he run heritage victoria now?
by hairdresser on 22 October 09 ·#
Yes, it is an office building – can there be no worthwhile office building, ever? Are the only good buildings art galleries or big weird empty spaces for people to prance around in? Seriously, i don’t understand what you’re talking about. Because it is not the best building in the entire world it should therefore be knocked down without a second thought? Completely illogical.
by Joan on 23 October 09 ·#
the design architect dr. bolt is the only one making any sense.
read carefully joan, don’t jump to conclusions.
start with the piece above and the mercury article where it references a conversation with the architect.
the first thing found was that after the sketch design was complete, the building was moved from its original intended location, which was site specific reading the deisign rhetoric. (third paragraph, last sentence)
the pro life and abortion arguments are as shallow as each other, where’s the substance in the argument? keep it cause its significant, knock it down cause its in the way, thats the way the arguments read. real architecture works with compromise and rises above it.
other than bolt its nothing more than blackshirt navel gazing.
by cabbie on 24 October 09 ·#
^^OG BHP melb office building and its silver brothers r worthy.
Council House Perth – pre last century mess up maybe.
Harry Seidler – anything. my list would go on…..and on + bore anyone.
am saying its a little hard to take history preservationists seriously if they can’t place the building eruditely. claiming its brutalist is illogical for sure?
p. lovell’s of this world would cut u up for their cat’s dinner (unless u hire em first – ha ha ha).
u think its good. say y. historys not a sticky label – or maybe it is now in wot passes for unis (TAFE colleges?). I say this murray thing is a piece of standard practice 60s urban orthodoxy – and up close its a piece of municipal modernism in the already fashionable clothing of that era – behind the times when it was built? maybe thats the argument for keeping it. a trace record of the last gasp of colonial administration? get my drift now.
I must admit though there r still some cranks in mexico who claim the GAS & FUEL should never have been replaced by Fed Square. Takes all sorts I suppose
by hairdresser on 24 October 09 ·#
I don’t believe the pro-10 Murray people have said anything about “keeping it as it is”. They are simply arguing against demolishing it. That does not preclude the idea of retrofitting or altering the building to fit in with new ideas.
By the way, whether or not it’s strictly a Brutalist building is not really the point either – that label is largely a matter of opinion.
by Joan on 25 October 09 ·#
well joan i’d probably agree with u about opinion – so long as it comes from an expert. labels r everything in my book. I kinda like the Hebrew’s idea of how the world got created.
paul keating’s got an opinion on the heritage industry too. check it.
by hairdresser on 25 October 09 ·#
fraser’s comment is very loaded.
pk always leaves you refreshed.
by cabbie on 25 October 09 ·#
I’ve seen the display at the Sullivan’s Cove Authority office. A staff-member tells me it will not be available online; something to do with commercial sensitivities. As I supposed, the plaza is just the roof of the car-park. A scale model on show reveals the sheer impudence of the intended replacement for No. 10 Murray. It monsters Parliament House,as seen from Parliament lawns, and will cast a considerable shadow over the lawns, particularly so in Winter. At this time of year, No.10’s shadow just reaches the lawn, and the shadow from Parliament House is not intrusive at all.
by Richard on 6 November 09 ·#
Paul Johnston has written an article in support of Bolt’s design, arguing for modernism as cultural heritage.
From Paul’s article ( here ) : “To dismiss Number Ten as intrusive does not allow the 20th century a place in the history of our cities. It also ignores the role of modern architecture in addressing the complex issues that arise from anticipated growth in the urban environment. If we are to remove the best examples of how we might grow our cities, while only retaining the qualities that connect us to our more distant past, then we have much to understand of the means to achieve a sustainable society.”
by peter on 2 December 09 ·#
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 ·#
Robert Rockefeller’s plans to mount giant wind turbines to catch the Southerly blusters from his Hobart buildings have been furled in by the council on heritage grounds. The debate was “heated”, possibly by a coal-fired power station.
One way to please all might be to use heritage-certified wind turbines. This delightful structure was built in 1894 near Willesden Junction Station in London. As the writer notes, “there should be great scope for a successful and really trustworthy wind motor for electrical purposes.”
As a foreigner who visited Hobart in 2004 I hope you don’t mind me weighing in on the 10Murray St. project. I remember the building not because of any distinguishing traits, but because it appeared to me as another example of a modernist mass misplaced. You have, as you know, no doubt,an unusual wealth of heritage architecture and to see this mass from the wharf it appears as an eyesore, with no respect for its surrounding.What astonishes me is not so much that your urban planners would want to tear it down, but that the replacement design seems to be more box tops. I visited Wellington N.Z. shortly after my stay in Hobart and there you can see block after block of ugly modernist buildings built around what should have been a beautiful harbor. I might have been able to appreciate the period merits of 10Murray had it been placed elsewhere but I wouldn’t regret its demolition if it were replaced with a more community friendly urban design.Hopefully the planners will come up with something that enhances Hobart’s unique character.