AIA supports alternative Barangaroo proposal

Feb 21, 2011
  • Article by Online Editor

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) NSW Chapter has said it “supports the principles” behind an alternative scheme for the Barangaroo development in Sydney harbour.

The new scheme, revealed on 19 February by a group of 57 independent architects and urban planners, addresses several of the more contentious design attributes of the approved Lend Lease design.

Named ‘A Better Barangaroo’, the alternative design relocates the Richard Rogers-designed hotel from the new pier back onto existing land and reduces the height of the proposed office buildings.

The group also suggests that the cruise ship terminal should be retained, rather than creating the naturalistic headland park advocated by Paul Keating. The group estimates that scrapping Keating’s headland would save between $100-200 million.

NSW Chapter President Brian Zulaikha said the Institute believed “there are good opportunities to achieve an effective and accessible public domain in the Headland and Barangaroo Central precincts at a reasonable cost.

“The whole site is public land. Public benefit should be paramount, particularly full access to the harbour foreshore. Commercial development has its place, but should be secondary to the public benefit provided by the site.”

The Institute also endorsed the proposal to keep the cruise ship terminal within the Barangaroo site. “A facility of this kind brings life and vitality to the area, while retaining its historic ‘working harbour’ function,” Zulaikha said.

The alternative proposal was put forward by a group called Architects and Planners Concerned About Barangaroo. Members include Phillip Cox, David Chesterman, Peter Webber, Kerry Clare, Rob Adams, Lindsay Johnston, Phillip Thalis, Richard Leplastrier and Tone Wheeler.

Chesterman acknowledged that the developer and design team behind the current scheme were “excellent”, but explained the group were concerned with the scale of the design and the “unprecedented intrusion into the waterways” of Rogers’ hotel. The group said the $6 billion project had suffered from a “deeply flawed process”.

NSW Chapter President Zulaikha concluded: “It is important that future decision-making for Barangaroo is conducted in an open and transparent manner in view of the substantial public benefit to be derived from the site.”

[“List of Architects and Planners Concerned About Barangaroo”:]

*Images* courtesy Architects and Planners Concerned About Barangaroo

Conversation • 7 comments

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26 Feb 11 at 10:56 AM • John Ferguson

Richard Rogers/Lend Lend Lease Barangaroo is a masterpiece of urban design. Everything is world class with meticulous attention to detail, nothing has been overlooked. Perfect office building size and orientation, the landmark hotel as a major icon and number 1 attraction, ferry piers and no giant cruise ships, abundance of public space, spectacular headland restoring a natural harbour foreshore…

This so called, self-proclaimed “alternative proposal” is an absolute disgrace. Cutting off key buildings, removing the hotel which is the best part of the whole project, bringing cruise ships and reducing public foreshore, vandalising the original headland park proposal..
Those who did this deserve to be ashamed, the “proposal” demonstrates complete lack of ideas, imagination and balls. A bunch of frustrated mediocre local architects green with envy. You can’t even mention Richard Rogers’ name guys, you are not in his class! 😉

27 Feb 11 at 4:43 AM • balmainResident

wow, that Alternative plan is dreadful.
i’m hoping they posted the wrong renders by mistake.
Also, what’s all this yelling and screaming about “overshaddowing”? By the looks of that picture above the shadow cast by the current design falls on just a small section of one of the piers. That’s hardly something to complain about is it?

27 Feb 11 at 9:27 AM • Patrick

What a souless and weak alternative. No inspiration, no grandiose vision… just more of the same mediocre stuff that has been plaguing Sydney for far too long. Give it up please, let the real Barangaroo proceed without this boring criticism.

27 Feb 11 at 12:23 PM • Peter

Is this a joke? This may be an alternative but to call it a design is a gross overstatement. Basically it’s boxes grouped together. If anything it appears bulkier than the Roger design but instead is so uninspiring that it may as well be confined to a suburb. If this is the best (or indeed what people perceive as a better alternative) of what Sydney can do, then i’m depressed.

03 Mar 11 at 8:32 PM • Adrian

My only beef with the Rogers scheme was the intrusion into the harbour – an artificial land grab. The masterplan I thought was sound. Whilst this scheme addresses that concern, it replaces it with a mediocre, 1980’s style master plan and seemingly dreadful corporate tower boxes. Our local ‘best’ should be ashamed.

14 Aug 11 at 8:53 AM • Andy

surely if you have the gall to comment on this local group of architects, you would understand that the ‘renders’ provided are massing models , providing parameters to suggest the maximum space in which the architecture would be conceived. The intent is not to show a bunch of S.O.M’esque office boxes, to which i would obviously share your objection. The theory employed behind the scheme is sound and rigorous…rogers hotel building is a beautiful edifice, but is an un-contextual piece of design. Surely in 2011 we understand that Urban Design is more critical than architecture as design of an object unto itself!

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