Hobart Waterfront Competition

01. Hobart is held within a powerful landscape - a landscape which is central to the form, character and experience of the city. Thus, the competition site must be thought of in the context of this greater realm. 


02. Hobart exists and negotiates between mountain and river in this powerful landscape. The city developed within the folds in the landscape, between ridges and dictated by the line of the Hobart Rivulet which– suppressed by development during the 60s and 70s – is understood as the ‘centre-line’ or ley line within this (greater) action of the landscape and a literal umbilical cord connecting the two dominant elements of the landscape – Mountain and Water.


03. The site can be understood as the “delta” within this landscape, the moment where the folds of the mountains and foothills open out to meet the sea.

The concrete apron has and continues to operate as the focus of this “delta” into the sea and exists in a state of flux - negotiating time, spatial and use differences but with a continuity in its uncanny nature - a non-place suspended as an artificial topography between the landscape and southern ocean. 


04. Once this delta action and the uncanny nature of the open apron is understood, notions such as “axis” recede.  These ideas – from a formal city-planning sensibility - are attempts to impose an order onto this place rather than working from the order which exists. The competition site does not constitute an axis like Murray and Elizabeth Streets - streets which cut across the natural ridge to connect city and cove.  Rather, it occupies a central position in the hook-like zone where the greater landscape bowl (intensified by the city nestled in the valley) spreads across the river-delta to unite with the cove.  Attempts to construct an axis will lose this important sense of the city form.


05. The location of the apron at the delta and its uncanny nature suggest opportunities - working with inherent patterns and qualities, and revealing these with greater veracity, rather than imposing new ones.  The character of this place as the “delta” of the larger landscape and historic entry point to the city can inform new work and the juxtaposition of the Gigantic and Miniature, so characteristic in the Tasmanian landscape, is evident here in the points of intensity and use that punctuate this broad uncanny field. 


06. Negotiating the breadth of the apron as a pedestrian is often a precarious proposition, subject to the realities of a wide open expanse on the verge of the Great Southern Ocean, where plundering winds blast up from Antarctica.  Rather than seeking to temper this reality, new propositions are drawn to negotiating the open apron ‘field’ in a manner borne from the characteristics of the place - the extant infrastructure of derelict cranes working bridges and the like are joined by industrial-scaled set pieces that in “dancing” across the apron in fleeting, jolting action mimics the rush across the open expanse and places to pause for rest.


07. Places where people can access the water or focus on Hobart’s mountain backdrop and thus orientate to the natural context, but by taking one out of the specific – to relate to the larger landscape order – retains the uncanny quality of the apron. 


08. Dunn Place occupies a pivotal location.  It is the centre of the fanning delta, where the funnelled landscape hooks around and spreads outwards on to the broad apron of the docks.  It is an opportunity to contribute to the sequential building stock of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – thus completing the entire civic block in a coherent use.  It demarcates the furthermost penetration of the original waterline in to the landscape, thus – as part of the concrete apron – is the innermost place of “otherness” nestled snugly within a readable topography.