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This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting


Your editorial and the various articles on Barangaroo ((Architecture Australia, vol 99 no 3, May/June 2010) seem to perpetuate a narrow view of the world, that architects are against the commerce of the city.

There is a call for diversity in the city with an assumption that a single developer will commission one architect to do every building. Look at Jacksons Landing in Sydney, where around twenty architects have designed individual buildings in a precinct managed by one developer – the same developer as for Barangaroo.

There is a call for real public space that is not compromised by the involvement of a developer. Look at one of Sydney’s best public spaces – Australia Square – delivered and owned by a developer – the same developer as for Barangaroo.

A number of the architects writing on Barangaroo seem to long for the good old days when governments delivered everything for the public realm. But look at some of the great public spaces from history that were delivered by developers, like the Crescent in Bath or the Regency squares of London. Across the world it is partnerships between governments and the private sector that are now driving city development. It is the private sector’s concern for commerce that leads to active uses and urban vitality.

Some people may not want this urban vitality and, to cater for them, Barangaroo provides a naturalistic landscape at its northern headland for quieter contemplation.

Chris Johnson, Design Excellence Review Panel, Barangaroo.


If that red building (Architecture Australia, vol 99 no 3, May/June 2010, p.48) is part of the Preferred Scheme Masterplan at Globe Harbour, Barangaroo, then let us view it in greater detail in the next issue or thereafter.

Putting text to picture is an art form when presenting an argument, so bigger or clearer numbers next to pictures, please. Then a dialogue can be started by those annoying bloggers and writers of letters.

I think that a lot of the debate is important, but hey, as Dostoevski said, “Distance is always important as to the gravity of a situation.”

From the west coast of Oz, I can imagine that the table meetings must get heated regarding these debates – and, unlike a lecture theatre or podium, must be an acquired taste. I for one cannot afford to attend these architectural forums, which are mainly east coast, and prefer a more contrarian, ordinary language or commentary of a profession that often cannot see itself. It’s good for the profession to take the huff out of puff when it comes to political folly.

A west coast commentary: keep up the good work, as it helps lift the game in the smaller cityscapes like lil’ ol’ Perth, which has its own Barangaroo on the waterfront.

Yep, if Sydney does not want the red tower, I am sure someone will build it on Perth’s waterfront. Next to the Bell Tower will do – all the protagonists have to do is find a client for it, please CityVision and woo the mayor or premier.

Robert Wood.



Published online: 1 Jul 2010


Architecture Australia, July 2010

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