Our little city of Brisbane is on the cusp of having a sizeable chunk of its traditional CBD street pattern obliterated by a gargantuan new gambling casino complex. It looks like the architectural concept has been heavily influenced by the Marina Quays complex in Singapore – with a curvaceous viewing platform linking high-rise buildings more than 20 storeys above the ground and with building podiums straddling streets below. The activities flow down to the river edge with questionable spaces eventuating under and around the existing elevated freeway structures along the river.
All this is to occur in the most historic part of our city – where some of our earliest buildings erected in the mid eighteen hundreds have been preserved for posterity. These heritage buildings will be dwarfed by the proposed new homogeneous complex which interrupts the street pattern and which will eventuate in an unfriendly public street level experience for pedestrians.
Big projects – “complexes” – conceived and implemented by individual promoters pre-empt proper urban planning. And they seem to make life easy for the political classes who can adopt someone else’s vision for the city rather than engage with their constituents to develop a place-specific authentic vision which is not generic.
From our perspective, great cities are made up of lots of wonderful individual parts each linked via the public realm (streets & squares). These individual parts come from citizen engagement and result in unique places.
Speaking of individual parts - we love this wonderful little fragment of a city which has just opened. It is unique and it will be loved.
We do not have the same enthusiasm for Brisbane’s new generic casino enclave.
Find out more about the Seaglass carousel at www.thebattery.org