Home' Commercial : Commercial 2014 Contents SCOOP Commercial Building & Design 63
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point on the water’s edge, up through the treasury
precinct and malls and then to the Cultural Centre
I have a concern with Perth City Link in that
the government-owned land that was created
by sinking the railway line has been sold off to
one master developer. I think the government
has taken the path of convenience rather than
retaining some of the responsibility. I’m not saying
we’ll get a bad outcome but I don’t think we’ll get
the level of richness, grain and diversity that you’d
expect in such a big chunk in the heart of the city.
Perth is lagging behind other great cities in
Australia and the world in that our developers don’t
really have a culture that sees value in quality.
It’s a chicken and egg thing. Developers say they
respond to what the public wants and the public say
they respond to whatever is presented to them. It’s
incumbent on government and various planning
and delivery agencies to break that nexus.
At the coalface of the individual building delivery,
the AIA is working with City of Perth, MRA and
the Office of the Government Architect to develop
a strategy for the delivery and design quality
of buildings in the city. One of the models we’re
looking at is what they do in the City of Sydney
where, for certain value projects, the city
requires the developer to invite three architects
to do a design competition and the city has
a stake in the process of establishing the brief
for the competition and assessing the design.
We’re looking at a similar model for some project
types in Perth.
The idea with having a design competition as
part of the process for getting development
approval is that it sends a very clear message to
developers and everyone involved that design is
critical and the community is a stakeholder,
via the city being the guardian for the people.
The private developer who is ultimately the owner
still gets to choose their architects. But ultimately,
if the result is an apartment block that’s much
better than the standard offering, the community
gets an opportunity to respond to that. The
nexus is broken and it creates a scenario where
expectations are raised and developers will then
respond to those expectations.
I think we’re on a journey from a government
point of view, developer point of view and
community point of view, and we need to keep
pegging away at it. Perth Arena, for example
was a very publically, highly discussed project.
Aside from the questionable delivery process and
much discussion about whether people like the
building or not, there is recognition that the level
of design rigour that was applied to that building
has resulted in something that has delivered
benefits to city and state. It works and it creates
stimulus for other things to happen around it.
And off the back of it, even if people don’t like the
building, they start to realise design has an impact
on their life.
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