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Steve's Shed

edited February 2006 in architecture
Melbourne's Exhibition Centre, designed by Denton Corker Marshall in the early 90s, is about to have a large shopping centre/cocktail lounge land on its front lawn. The buildings shown in today's newspapers (print editions) cram up against the Polly Woodside Maritime museum.

The Herald Sun says that the, "fan shaped convention centre will... feature... a foyer able to host up to 11,000 guests for cocktail functions." The developement, which will also contain lots and lots of shops (more than Southgate), and a 50,000 sqm homemaker centre.

This giant shopping and convention centre will be constructed by Multiplex, and will be funded to the tune of $370M by the State Government.

The Government architect, John Denton (also a director of Denton Corker Marshall), has been asked to, "ensure the state-of-the-art design is delivered properly." Which he'll presumably have to do without cringing.

The development is seen by Bracks as 'linking' Southbank to Docklands.
“The new centre is part of a public-private partnership project that will complete the urban renewal of the Yarra River’s edge linking Southbank to Docklands and creating a commercial and lifestyle district down the river’s spine to the bay’s edge and port districts.”
There is a link at the moment, but one has to cross the MEC gardens. After the convention centre fills this 'gap' there will be continuous commercialism from Princes bridge through to the Mirvac docklands precinct.

No mention anywhere about who the architects are in the news, but according to web forums like this one, Woods Bagot are involved.

THE AGE 23.02.06


  • mark_melb
    edited January 1970
    Oh no! More damn shops to attract the chavs. Why do we Melbournians have to dumb everything down? Why was the river left for the 'public'? If it would not work without Consumerism, forget it.
    I can see the Grand Opening now. Red Carpet arrivals, Eddie, diamante gees, MX vending machines.......
  • nerol
    edited January 1970
    The winning team for the architecture and urban design component of the project consists of NH Architecture, Woods Bagot and Larry Oltmanns.

    A pretty dull but informative government page that outlines the details of the project can be found here:
  • 24x37
    edited January 1970
    Grimshaw are doing a bridge across the Yarra as part of the development.
  • mark_melb
    edited January 1970
    Yippee. The icing on the cake.
  • peter_j
    edited January 1970
    I have just read Kenneth Davidson's column in The Age, which focusses on the dubious merits of the State Government's keenness on PPPs (Public Private Partnerships I think). It goes part way to uncovering why the government is so keen to squeeze a 50,000 sqm "homemaker retail complex" on this riverside land, part of a monster shopping area that wasn't even in the brief.
    The successful bid is really a retail and commercial development with masses of car parking with a convention centre attached. The financial arbitrage leveraged out of the Government funding of the centre will help underwrite the cost of the commercial development...

    The development will occupy 15 to 20 hectares of prime public space. So far taxpayers have not been told what upfront payment or annual leasehold charges will be paid for this privatisation of public property, let alone why the Government rejected the cheaper option, which would have consumed less public space and more easily accommodated the additional transport burden.

    For the taxpayer, and the guardians of public space, this is just another Grand Prix on steroids with a few additional noughts added onto the bottom-line cost to the taxpayer.
    THE AGE 27.04.06
  • mark_melb
    edited January 1970
    Do you realise that 'the team' have been working on the brief and selection process now for over two years to come to a decision not to award the project based on the brief. You gotta wonder.................
  • peter_j
    edited January 1970
    Melbourne City Council seem to have decided it's a dodgy deal.
    Melbourne councillors are threatening an 11th-hour boycott of the State Government's $1 billion convention centre on Southbank...

    They want to withhold their $43 million contribution, fearing ratepayer money earmarked for the public realm will instead be used to set up an "elitist" complex that excludes Melburnians.
    Cr Fraser Brindley said that by committing itself to the complex before seeing the detail, the council had subsidised a "car-dependent, consumerist carbuncle" on Southbank.

    "This is an urban disaster," he said. "It's going to be a blight. We're tipping $43 million into this, ostensibly to improve the public realm, but I see no improvement to the public realm at all.

    THE AGE 05.12.06
  • mark_melb
    edited January 1970
    Sitting in the UK at present the whole PPP thing is a festering sore.
  • peter_j
    edited January 1970
    THE AGE 21.02.07
    THE builders of the controversial $1 billion Melbourne Convention Centre have been secretly given permission to expand the project...

    Planning minister Justin Madden has granted the consortium approval to expand the Hilton Hotel on the banks of the Yarra by five storeys to 19 levels.

    And the minister is set to consider a request from the consortium to increase a retail and residential tower that is part of the project by nine storeys to 30 storeys.

    Royce Millar's article also notes that the retail component of the development is designed by the same folks who brought you the DFO at Southern Cross Station. Apparently state architect John Denton has "raised concerns" about the retail elements.

    The photo accompanying the article (see link below) is surprising - I hadn't realised that this development was to fill the entire block. Soon we will have a belt of fair to middling high rises running continuously from St Kilda Road to Fishermen's Bend, all less than 15 years old, most poorly connected into the public transport network, and between them creating a big fat wall to South Melbourne.

    It's a shame that since the potential of the river was first unveiled by the Southgate development, there has been such a stream of bland buildings down there that have no need to be near the yarra other than that the views from inside will increase their rents - they are contributing nothing to the yarra precinct except to help turn it into a cavernous concrete gully.

    THE AGE 21.02.07
  • peter_j
    edited January 1970
    I missed this article last month in The Age, accompanied by a tres glamourous shot of a big box and carpark. This is the new Convention Centre and the crappo acres of adjacent retail that will subsidise it. The article lets on that just the Convention Centre has to achieve a 6 star green rating - the retail component has no restriction. That's just weird.

    State Architect John Denton appears to have tried to do something about the big-boxes-on-the-yarra but has he thrown his hands up? "I think we've done the best we can within the constraints of the agreement in place."

    THE AGE 28.08.07
  • peter
    edited July 2008
    <p>On the occasion of John Denton's retirement as State Government architect, he has spoken to The Age. This is a different, grinning JD, not bound by Brumby' n' Bracksy. Worth a full read for the criticisms he has of the Labour Government and their pecadillo for PPPs (Public realm Pollution Permits), but here is a little of what he says about the Convention Centre.</p>
    <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 153, 102);"><i>He said the Government had allowed the successful consortium to squeeze too much commercial development onto the site, crowding out the convention and the existing exhibition centre. </i></span></p>
    <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 153, 102);"><i>"I guess this was in order to get commercial component on to the end of it and get a dollar out of it."</i></span></p>
    <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 153, 102);"><i>Mr Denton is careful to highlight that his own company designed Jeff's Shed.</i></span></p>
    <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 153, 102);"><i>He accepts that there is demand for the retail outlets attached to Southern Cross and the convention centre, but asks whether Melbourne's "urban realm" is improved by them. "The convention precinct doesn't grab me as a good outcome. But with PPPs you have to accept what you're offered, not what you've thoughtfully decided you need."</i></span></p>
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    <p> </p>
    <p> </p>
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