Petition started to save 10 Murray Street

Oct 23, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor

A petition has been started, urging the Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority and the Tasmanian Government to intervene and protect 10 Murray Street, Hobart from demolition as part of a large-scale redevelopment scheme by fjmt and Citta Property Group.

The petition states that the demolition of the building is “unnecessary and short-sighted,” asking the Tasmanian Government “to intervene to protect this landmark example of 20th Century Australian architecture and preserve it for future generations.” The petition will be sent to the Tasmanian Government as well as the Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority, which will have the final say on the project’s approval.

Development is due to begin early in 2010. fjmt director, Richard Francis-Jones, says that the existing building fails the square from an urban design point of view.

Francis-Jones explained that the firm had looked at options for keeping the building in the square and developing around it. Speaking to The Mercury about the redevelopment, he said, “we looked at it closely and our original thinking was to retain it and lower its scale and take some floors off and make it fit better, but it wasn’t as good as we could do for the space.”

He added, “I like buildings from [the early modern] period and that building does have qualities but a city is not about individual buildings, no matter what you think about them, it is how they go together, scale and their relationship with the surrounds. And that building fails on those accounts and it inhibits the development of this site enormously.”

The redevelopment plan has angered those who wish to preserve the Brutalist building, designed by Dirk Bolt in the 1960s. The petition says, “regarded by some as ugly or inappropriately situated, 10 Murray Street is in fact a unique example of 1960s Brutalist architecture in Australia and is of significant cultural value.”

The debate raises some interesting questions about heritage buildings listed for preservation. The petition states that the Australian Institute of Architects suggested the building be included on the National Estate Register. The building is given ‘indicative place’ on the register, where the Nominator’s Statement of Significance reads, “The State Offices building is exemplary of a philosophy of building type (the multi-storey office block), and a continuation of the International style of the post-war period. It is a particularly well executed example of the movement and the best Tasmanian example of high-rise offices of this period.”

However, the building has not been formally nominated for inclusion on the register.

Bolt spoke to Peter Johns from Butterpaper about his original design, saying, “I think it is a pity that the State Offices building is perceived as not being harmonious with its setting, whilst the very essence of the original intention was the opposite.”

[“Read the Butterpaper post here”:]

Visit the [“Save 10 Murray website”:] and [“petition”:]

[“Read the Mercury article”:]

*1* from fjmt’s proposal for Parliament Square
*2* courtesy Wiki ian

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