There has been a fundamental shift in the way cities are being designed says architect Drew Williamson.
As a senior associate at McBride Charles Ryan, Mr Williamson was a major driver of the University of Tasmania’s relocation designs.
He said a focus was to create something for people and not for cars.
“A lot of the urban infrastrucutre in the 20th century was about large scale roads, bridges and car parking structures. What we have found out is that nobody really enjoys the second half of the 20th century legacy architecture that has no interface with the way that people deal with buildings and space and each other.”
Creating a proposal that allowed the public to use Inveresk in new ways was key when the architect analysed the area.
“One of the things that you always get caught up with with buildings when you look at new designs is the glass, the concrete and the bricks.
“Whereas what we are really looking at here is fundamentally changing the way you can get from say the Brisbane Street Mall to come to a football game, in a really safe and enjoyable way that you can’t do at the moment.”
Mr Williamson asked why do so many people get funneled down Tamar Street and what is that experience like?
“You are walking past concrete brick walls and pubs … [and] because there are so many people wanting to do it all at the same time, they are pouring out onto the street where there are people driving past at 60km/h or they are jay walking across roundabouts.
“We thought that we have this opportunity to focus on the way the city engages with the river, instead of turning its back on it.”
The vision, according to Mr Williamson, is to look forward and change Launceston from a 19th century to 20th century model into a modern, contemporary city of the 21st century.
He said the proposal shifted the centre of gravity of Launceston and expanded it to incorporated key things the city does well, like City Park.
“We can then create more opportunities and types of spaces at Inveresk that it never had before.”
The ability to see and then easily access public spaces, in ways that had not be available before, will help to integrate the new university buildings within the community.
“We don’t want to have campuses anymore, we want to have ecosystems,” Mr Williamson said.
“We want to embed our activities into our communities and to have partnerships with industry.”
He said every city already supports public policy, health and education but by bringing a university into that you can get better leverage within those existing sectors.
“A university also bring those science and innovation spaces into cities ... everyone is bringing something postive and beneficial to the relationship.
“Proximity is really important in this regard, it’s not just you have to get in your car to go see this person or that person but you might bump into them as you are walking to your favourite cafe which isn’t more than 10 or 15 minutes away but because you’ve made that effort you might bump into half a dozen different people then suddenly other opportunities will come up.”
Mr Williamson investigating parking loads and traffic as a major component of his work.
The university’s goal is to push parking to each end of the site and to maximise it and make it more efficient.
Ideally people would arrive from the North or South of the campus and not even consider crossing the bridge in their cars.
“Then there is less pressure on the road network along Invermay Road … then suddenly you have got a completely different type of environment along Invermay Road.
“It might not just become this thoroughfare but an opportunity to have a really beautiful streetscape.”
The vision for the Inveresk and Willis Street sites is not limited to the designs in the master plan.
Mr Williamson said there were many different ways areas could be used by reducing car movements.
From seating arrangements, sports, markets and other activities, there are ways to capture more of the community’s attention, especially after major events at UTAS Stadium.
“We don’t have all the answers straight away, but these things change over time,” he said.
After football games or cricket matches there could be an opportunity for a student union bar or a food and beverage area, Mr Williamson said.
Food vans could be parked along the tram lines for people to grab a bite after major events when “there is a captive audience of peopel who need to go somewhere”.
The architecture firm McBride Charles Ryan has been in practice for more than 30 years.