News

Barangaroo independent review released

August 10, 2011

Independent review of $6 billion Barangaroo development says Richard Rogers’ harbour hotel ‘not good public policy’.

The independent review into the $6 billion Barangaroo development in Sydney has recommended that the luxury hotel designed by Richard Rogers, which was to jut out 85m into the harbour on reclaimed land, be relocated to another location on the site in a “significant demonstration of goodwill”.

The hotel was not included in Lend Lease’s original development proposal, but was added to the scheme in early 2010. The report claims: “While the processes which approved the Hotel over the Harbour were apparently consistent with planning law, it is the view of this Review that the use of these processes in this case was not good public policy, and, as a result, it is our recommendation that the decision to locate the hotel over the Harbour should be reviewed by negotiation with [developer] Lend Lease.”

The independent review was announced in May this year by the NSW Minister for Planning Brad Hazzard, who called for a “short and sharp” review from two experts independent of the project. The review, conducted by Shelley Penn and Meredith Sussex, assessed the decision-making processes involved in Barangaroo, and the project’s compliance with planning approval processes.

The report notes “a lack of an independent, expert ‘good design’ advocate supporting government in the process,” and suggests that the NSW State Government Architect play a greater role in the project, to advocate and advise on design in a model similar to South Australia’s Integrated Design Commission. In addition, the review says the project had suffered from a lack of transparency and clear public communication in relation to the design work.

However, the report did not find major fault with any of the planning decisions made, and work on the 22ha site in Sydney’s Darling Harbour – which is being developed by Lend Lease – is now expected to resume. NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, will take over the management of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority Board from Planning Minister Hazzard.

The report examined the history of the concept plan for the disused industrial site, looking at the winning proposal from the original 2005 design competition – a concept by Hill Thalis/Paul Berkemeier/Jane Irwin (HTBI) – and all subsequent modifications by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and, more recently, Lend Lease.

In relation to the headland park, the report notes a “fundamental shift in the philosophical design approach to the site” between the initial HTBI scheme, which sought to adapt the existing concrete form, and the current proposal for a naturalistic headland; however, it concludes that the design had gone through a competently considered planning process.

  • Horses August 11th, 2011 1:35 pm

    Actually, the hotel, which is/was to be built on a pier, is about the only part of the project not on reclaimed land.


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