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.
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.