Friday, March 26, 2010

Save the Windsor Rally

I was at the rally yesterday and there was a decent turn out. I'm terrible at guessing crowd numbers but maybe 150 people? Enough to fill the steps and crowd the pavement. Rod Quantock MC'ed, and various people spoke including Bob Brown. Who promised to make it a national issue. I also hope that The Greens make it an election issue. They came very close to winning the seat of Melbourne in the last election and I hope that if they could campaign on issues like this then maybe they would unseat Bronwyn Pike. Some of the liberal members also spoke but I am a bit cynical about their motivations, they were more focused on the corruption in the planning process and one man in particular seemed to be very obviously avoiding stating that he was against the proposal for The Windsor.

I am very against for a few reasons. I believe that a huge tower tacked on the back of The Windsor will ruin its appearance, the way the the sun shimmers over its facade will be lost and the grand hotel will sit uncomfortably in the shadow of a glass monolith.  I think the design itself is boring and completely insensitive to The Windsor, it speaks of an architect who wants to dominate a low rise area with a  statement building, not try and work sensitively with what is already there. The issue here is not simply about a single building but about good urban planning, about how buildings sit in relation to one another. Tall buildings in Melbourne's grid plan create wind tunnels and shade streets for much of the day. Lonsdale St beside the QV is a good example, the BHP billiton building funnels the wind along the street and keeps the street cafes in shade almost all day.  It's all a bit depressing. Melbourne has places for high rise buildings, like docklands and Southbank and the other end of the CBD, we need to retain low rise areas as well. Many cities have very successfully kept strict height limits, and these have led to very creative and inventive pieces of architecture. Anyway here are some pictures, I particularly like my one of the Madden Mad Hatter towering over the Windsor so I have made a new badge to replace my now defunct Save Lonsdale House Badge.

The relevance of the Alice in Wonderland characters is that Madden is the Mad Hatter (naturally). Brumby is the March Hare and Heritage Victoria is the Dormouse, asleep at the table. Alice represented the public, confused and treated with contempt.


  1. Eloquently put. Had you have done a street vox pop, I doubt you would have found anyone who liked the plan. Does Madden dislike Pike so much?

  2. Thanks for covering the rally, it's good to know people care about the city, even if the planning minister doesn't!

    Even IF the Libs are just trying to win a few votes by rabbiting on about the corrupt planning process, they're still raising a valid point. It's a HUGE loophole for Ministers to be able to swoop in and override so many local council and heritage rules and guidelines, and they usually only do so when a big developer wants to do something they wouldn't otherwise get away with...oh, I mean a "project of significance".

    I do wonder if the Libs are planning on banning "political donations" though...doubtful.


Hit Counter