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An executive director of a Western Australian heritage conservation association has criticised some of the recently built skyscrapers in Perth’s CBD, labelling them as “incredibly boring” and merely “blocks of glass”.
In a report by News Corp’s Perth Now title, Heritage Perth executive director Richard Offen singled out the exteriors of the new 33-storey tower by Kerry Hill Architects at the Treasury precinct, Hassell’s $500 million HQ Brookfield Place and the 137-metre Woodside Plaza by Sandover Pinder and Kann Finch as among the “worst offenders”.
“These are developer’s buildings – easy and cheap to construct, but paying little attention to our hot, sunny climate or the architecture of earlier generations,” Offen explained.
Top: The new 33-storey tower by Kerry Hill Architects is part of a masterplan to restore the State buildings in the Treasury Precinct. Image: Catheral & Treasury Precinct.
Above: HQ Brookfield Place on the Perth Skyline. Image: Brookfield.
Below: Woodside Plaza by Kann Finch (Sandover Pinder as subcontracted architects). Image: Wikipedia.
But Hassell principal Andrew Low came to the defence of his firm’s design at Brookfield Place which transformed Perth’s skyline when it was completed in 2012. Low’s rebuttal included comments about the subjectivity of architecture and that a building’s effect on the public realm should be read beyond its aesthetic.
“The first thing to say about all architecture is that people respond to the same building in different ways. It is all subjective,” he said.
“People love that precinct. It is thriving and it wouldn’t have happened without the tower.”
As an executive director of Heritage Perth, it is Offen’s business to promote the conservation of Perth’s heritage through the preservation of old buildings and by influencing the interpretation of heritage in new builds.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for the City of Perth, and Offen did cite the new City of Perth Library (Kerry Hill Architects), next to Perth Town Hall, and the conversion of Newspaper House, on St Georges Tce, into the Print Hall restaurant, as successes for the City’s commercial architecture stock.