Archive for November, 2009

A letter published in The Mercury, 28 November, 2009.

Architect’s rooftop garden among the stars

Architect Dirk Bolt’s original concept for 10 Murray St included a rooftop garden and viewing platform. This was at a time when the Hobart waterfront was a working port with little to see or entertain. Perhaps Mr Bolt was being visionary.

The Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority is considering the fate of 10 Murray St and may decide to have it replaced with a few pavers, a coffee shop and some ashtrays.

Imagine if, instead of the proposed Parliament Square, Hobart had a public rooftop garden from which to view the city, waterfront and mountain.

How about a rooftop choir in the Festival of Voices? I hope the authority shares Mr Bolt’s vision.

Sam Leishman


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A letter published in The Mercury, 10 November, 2009.

High-rise louvres a design masterstroke

When internationally renowned architect Harry Seidler attached angled sun hoods to his 44-storey Grosvenor Place in Sydney in the mid-1980s, it was considered a masterstroke of innovative design. The sun hoods significantly reduce glare and heat on the sides of the building that receive the most direct sunlight. This creates an internal space that is more comfortable to work in and adds to the energy efficiency of the building by reducing cooling costs. Energy efficiency is now a buzz term in contemporary design.

Next time you walk through Hobart, take a moment to look up at the north-west facade of the State Offices at 10 Murray St. Designed in the mid-1960s, it may be your last chance to see an equally effective sun-control system on a Hobart building. The angled louvres on 10 Murray St provide a simple but effective solution to shield the building from the afternoon sun. It’s a solution that pre-dates Harry’s innovation by 20 years and demonstrates a rare environmental consideration in a high-rise of this vintage. Call it brutalism if you must, but this well-planned, well-preserved, functional building is far from brutal.

This clever and environmentally kind representative of the 1960s’ modern, optimistic approach to design seems destined for the wrecker’s ball. Hobartians have until November 16 to make representations to the Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority.

Sam Leishman

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A letter published in The Mercury, 2 November 2009.

Demolition carbon costs not counted

There are big environmental questions hanging over the proposed demolition of 10 Murray St that need to be asked. Have the proponents calculated the amount of carbon embodied in the existing building? All that concrete took lots of CO2 to make. Then there is the energy required to demolish the building and to dispose of the waste. In addition, there is the energy cost of extracting, producing and transporting the materials needed for replacement buildings. What has the Premier’s Climate Change Office got to say?

Roger Edgabaston
Lower Marshes

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