Unbuilt

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting. Email us if you would like us to consider upgrading it to the current format.

HACKNEY MODERN

Concept plan
for Hackney North
redevelopment
area, from the early
1970s, by the South
Australian State
Planning Authority.
Concept plan for Hackney North redevelopment area, from the early 1970s, by the South Australian State Planning Authority.
Aerial
photograph of the
redevelopment area.
Aerial photograph of the redevelopment area.

An apparently modest proposal can have significant impact. Sean Pickersgill charts the political effects of an unbuilt Adelaide housing proposal from the 1970s.

The presence of a scheme to develop a small portion of inner suburbia in Adelaide shouldn’t be as remarkable as it now seems. When you look at this plan by the South Australian State Planning Authority to rationalize and transform a small portion of the suburb of Hackney, there seems little to excite the eye – it’s a reasonable mix of densities, makes provision for a spectrum of users and includes a significant measure of open space. And yet this unbuilt scheme had an impact well beyond these apparently modest attributes. So what was the problem in the early 70s when it was mooted?

For one thing, it involved the compulsory acquisition of a number of dwellings, which in democratic Adelaide was less than palatable. Secondly, it touched on a sacred edge of suburban Adelaide, St Peters and College Park and even, whisper it, St Peter’s College. An institution that has produced more cabinet ministers, Nobel prize winners and general worthies than any other school in Australia was never going to be interested in social engineering on its doorstep. Thirdly, it meant the demolition of a number of significant heritage buildings, including the Hackney Hotel.

Such was the furore that this plan managed to spawn one of the most significant subterranean bodies to wield power in Adelaide, the St Peter’s Resident Association, which became a model for grassroots revolt. Ironically, the association is now diametrically opposed to the placing of their houses on the local heritage register because it stifles property values.

Sean Pickersgill is a senior lecturer in architecture at the University of South Australia.

OCEAN BEACH

[<img src="/site_media/media/files/archive/architecture_australia/images/2007/05/images/030202.jpg" width="250" height="270" />, <span>The
competition-winning
mixed-use and
residential
development scheme,
by Kerry Hill Architects
in association with
Architectus, for
Cottesloe’s Ocean
Beach Hotel site.</span>]
[, The competition-winning mixed-use and residential development scheme, by Kerry Hill Architects in association with Architectus, for Cottesloe’s Ocean Beach Hotel site.]
The
competition-winning
mixed-use and
residential
development scheme,
by Kerry Hill Architects
in association with
Architectus, for
Cottesloe’s Ocean
Beach Hotel site.
The competition-winning mixed-use and residential development scheme, by Kerry Hill Architects in association with Architectus, for Cottesloe’s Ocean Beach Hotel site.

Geoffrey London recalls Perth’s proposed Ocean Beach Hotel site development, by Kerry Hill Architects with Architectus.

This mixed-use development by Kerry Hill Architects in association with Architectus, designed for the Ocean Beach Hotel site in Cottesloe, was the outcome of winning a limited international architectural competition offered by Multiplex and the owner of the site. The project proposed a new beachside destination for this Perth coastal suburb with a series of public facilities to Marine Parade, the busy street flanking the beach. A bar, restaurant and specialist retail outlets are planned around a series of connected public spaces which cut back into the site, establishing a new pedestrian precinct for locals and beachgoers.

Above the public ground level of Marine Parade is a separated private realm for the high-quality apartments.

A large open space with trees and a swimming pool is located in the centre, allowing views to the Indian Ocean from deep within the site and forming a “private oasis” for the residents.

Low-rise unit blocks establish a new edge to the quieter residential streets that flank two sides of the site, while the bulkier and higher building volumes of the project are located on the busier streets or sit well within the site. Appropriate in a beachside location, the well-considered unit designs enable finetuning of the exterior skin through the use of screens, allowing for the modulation of both climate and privacy.

It is a very classy development which, if built, would set a new benchmark for coastal development in Perth.

Geoffrey London is professor of architecture at the University of Western Australia and WA Government Architect.


More archive

Most read