Tonight, tonight, it all began tonight

The Citta/ARM St Kilda Triangle development just got the green light from the Port Phillip council.

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Okay, so it’s been a while, apologies.

Having had a while to think this over, I think that the scheme is too big and probably does have too many shops. It seems that there is not enough public transport or car parking available to deal with the extra people, it is already pretty chaotic down there. I think that the State Government really should have stumped up the cash for the refurbishment of the Palais rather than make Citta pay for it, because in doing so the Government merely assured that the developer would have to increase the number of paying tenants on the site to cover the extra costs. It also gives the developer a perfect excuse to add more venues for tenants even if they are not necessarily needed. I have no particular evidence of this but it doesn’t seem unlikely.

I think ARM’s scheme is good though. They’ve proved themselves to be very capable with large scale stuff in the last few years, even if the smaller stuff is looking like they don’t have much time invested in to them (I think the best example of this is to be found comparing the Storey Hall Annex to the RMIT Prospective Student centre a few doors apart on Swanston Street, but years apart in age and miles apart in design quality). Also, I think the fact that the development is not just another shops, offices and apartments job is great, they’ve actually included other functions into the site, ‘cos there is actually more to life then shopping, sleeping and going to work.

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4 Responses to Tonight, tonight, it all began tonight

  1. MMM..... says:

    Anyone think that this decision was prompted along by Dimwitty Reed’s puff piece in The Age the day previously ? It seemed spoonfed by the architects – that amount of detail could not be understood from the publicly available material. Is this what passes for criticism in Melbourne’s most prominent paper now – this propaganda combined with Norman who cannot conceal his disappointment over his own career and his bitterness. Time to dump the baby boomers ??????

  2. markham says:

    There are dirt streets in Beaumaris, Chelsea and Ivanhoe. Kept that way.

    Its possible, (amidst the celebrity opinion), there is some forlorn element of the protest that want to see the triangle left alone – unfinished.

    Corporate curb and guttering, some of it branded and promoted under the RMIT professorial machine, didn’t replace the old docklands, an industrial southbank and the Flinders Street rail yards – it altered the “tone” of the city.

    That “tone” might be what is being called into judgement – as much as the universal retail content that without exception it skins.

  3. ari says:

    MMM – no, I don’t think that Dimity Reed’s article had anything to do with it, simply because she has relatively little power over the Port Phillip Council and because her article appeared only shortly before the vote. I think their minds were already made up. Also, I understand that there was more information about the development available to the public at Council meetings, which is perhaps where Dimity viewed it.

    markham – I agree that the “tone” of the development is likely being called into judgement by the protesters. I must admit that I’m wary of discussing tone simply because it is so easy to fall into nostalgia, which I am suspicious of as a motivation. I think concepts of “tone” are also to be found in arguments against densification, i.e., the existing residents don’t want a block of apartments or some terraced houses to be built where once a single house stood, not because they are worried about their views as often stated, but because they worry about who will move into these lower-cost dwellings, that they might not be “people like us” who will “lower the tone”.

    As for the south bank of the Yarra, the Flinders Street rail yards and the dock lands, they certainly changed the tone of the city, but I’m sure the tone of Melbourne was also changed when the brickworks were built on the south bank, the cutting in the north bank made for the rail lines and river widened to create the docks in the first place. I guess it is a problem of how far back to you go, what seems appropriate to the tone of where we live to us now might have been a tragedy to someone else a century or more ago. Cities will always change, the best we can hope for is that they will change for the better.

    As for the dirt streets, as far as I’m aware the street in Chelsea is kept that way because the majority of the residents of that street want it that way. Perhaps there should have been some sort of vote held for St Kilda residents about the triangle.

  4. markham says:

    Its reasonable to be anxious about the appropriation of words by the poles of a conservative left and a conservative right.

    A word that we might equally be concerned about is change.

    There appears to be little evidence that any architect in this town can advance that word beyond its own sake.

    Radical architectural thinkers (if they exist in Melbourne – or if they emerge amongst a new generation and are again interested in recovering architecture) may want to discard this word more than any other. As an example of this idea, EMS – when they developed electronic music and instruments in the late 1950s and through the 1960s refrained themselves from using the word melody. We now enjoy the fruits of that restraint in nightclubs internationally.

    In any case I’m astonished that any architect could possibly be seriously interested in the fate of a shopping mall and some restaurants. Whats more interesting is the fate of a style and the offices generating it.

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