A poorly considered proposal
LIKE many, we chose Tasmania, specifically Launceston, for its relatively unspoiled heritage and natural character. This is by far the most obvious asset and attraction of our region.
During the course of the past decades, most of Australian and international cities have lost their charm to vast clusters of oversized, generic, characterless buildings taking over swathes of their skylines.
Having worked in architecture for decades, when I first visited Launceston in 2015, it instantly impressed me with its array of heritage builds, here and there interrupted by a tasteful concrete modernist insertion, appropriate both in design and scale, all wrapped in pleasant natural scenery.
Like Prague where I came from, Launceston is a truly unique city in Australia and globally. However, without a very careful, deliberate approach to planning, within a few years, Launceston can easily become just another ugly, anonymous place barely visited for reasons other than casinos or shopping.
The Fragrance Hotel proposal is to be commended for preserving the heritage street facades of the existing buildings. This is the first, and unfortunately, often also the only step taken by some architects in preserving the character of a place.
Quite obviously, this proposal's consideration for its surroundings ends right behind the old street facades. What happens behind and high above can only be described as a chaotic stack of randomly placed blocks. Is it a hospital in Seoul? A Shanghai shopping mall? A Perth Casino? There is no way to tell. The proposal aims at 12 stories, double or triple of what would suit its location, without even utilising the space available below.
With its worst facade directly facing the City Park, a massive five storey block sits on top of two concrete columns towering 20 metres above the existing heritage buildings, as in a final poignant gesture.
From an architectural perspective, this proposal can only be seen as poorly considered and giving insufficient regard to its surroundings from any perspective other than its own. At minimum, the building's massing and exterior forms must be carefully revised, utilising the available space better. The overall height can and must be reduced. The exterior facades must be redesigned to complement the character of the city.
A similar or better result must be required of the Fragrance Hotel. In its current form, the proposal represents an open door to the destruction of what it aims to benefit from in the first place: the tourism drawn by the unique character of Launceston.
Jiri Lev, Atelier for Building and Urban Design.
Unsolicited Phone Calls
WHILE there are few benefits from the current coronavirus caused lockdown, I've noticed a trend that has happened since early March.
We don't receive any of those phone calls. You know the ones that usually happen around dinner time and where the caller tries to sell you solar or tell you that your computer has broken down etc.
So far not one. Here we are, sitting ducks, and at home next to the phone. Has the virus driven all these cold callers away? What has happened?
I, for one am grateful.
Michael Fletcher, Legana.
An industry let down
I HAVE no doubt Premier Peter Gutwein has done all he can regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, but he has really let the whole racing industry down .
On Saturday, May 9 there were more people at 11am at Coles, Kings Meadows than you would see at a combined race meeting at Mowbray of all three codes.
He has taken advice of his Chief Medical Officer who is obviously being advised by a virologist who has a political agenda for closing racing altogether.
The whole Tasmanian racing industry has a great memory for poor political decisions. Ask Labor and Michael Aird for when that party sold the TOTE.
We have not seen one report that this virus has been picked up at any racing venue on the mainland, yet we are prepared to open parks and nature reserves.
Racing was and can be conducted on open air race tracks with no patrons and in the open air.
I urge the Premier and Racing Minister Jane Howlett to reconsider their decision and get on with the job.
Not only for the welfare of the animals but also for the mental welfare of the industry participants.
Paul L Bullock, former chairman Tasmanian Greyhound Racing Board.
Rumours of Difference
THERE are many kinds of rumours. Humorous rumours, hideous rumours, unbelievable, and so on.
Senator Helen Polley penned off an outrageous rumour (The Examiner, May 6) in regards to comments made by Professor Brendan Murphy regarding the staff party from the North-West health precinct.
Well I remember a terrifying rumour that was spread for quite some time by parts of the media and other parties last year.
This particular rumour was talked about and worried millions of Australians for months until it was found that the rumour was incorrect.
The terrifying rumour I refer to was the rumour that Bill Shorten and the ALP could be running Australia as the new federal government .
This rumour was even spread by the then leader to a visiting ex American Governor named Arnie something.
The leader actually believed this rumour and spoke openly and confidently about his up and coming victory.
Rumours are sometimes correct and sometimes not.
Professor Murphy has since retracted and apologised for his comments .
Thank goodness the terrifying rumour that Bill Shorten would win the election was also found to be incorrect.
Steve Rogers, South Launceston.