In the end, like all good competitions, it proved a farcical non-competition won by the team producing the most conservative design and having the best networking skills.
While we are blessed not to be subjects voting in the predetermined election of a Middle Eastern dictator, there is more than a little vexation over the fact that the ferry terminal competition, it seemed rigged from the start and failed to address most of the objectives of Anna Bligh’s initial call to design. She told us this was “a once in a lifetime opportunity” to build a series of iconic and unique ferry terminals that would laud BrizVegas’s self-appointed status as custodian of arts and culture. Sure, we believe you Anna.
And so, BrizVegas architectural giants Cox Rayner Architects won our traditionalist leadership over with a floating wedge of mediocrity that is really no different from the existing ferry terminals. Nothing of the design reflects the catastrophe that befell us in January because we are desperate for assurance that we will not be flooded again ! Let’s just forget, build something solid and focus on the worrying trends on the stock exchange.
It’s dismaying that BrizVegas doesn’t have any balls to build bizarre or zany architecture. Though we do love us some big mofo structures that have been engineered up the clacker. Just think the Soleil skyscraper in the CBD or any number of the spaghetti network of tunnels and flyover roads that are metastasising across our city.
Ok, so there’s an element of risk involved in choosing to build public infrastructure which hasn’t been proven before, but had our forefathers relied on that logic the world would not know the brand of the Sydney Opera House or the iconography of the Eiffel Tower or the nod to capitalist freedoms that is the Statue of Liberty. This risky business is not what Anna wants to get involved in with the scent of election in the air and Can-Do Campbell nipping at her sensible shoes. Perhaps she doesn’t want to upset her fanbase by choosing an untested design that might need to be defended for its innovation ? She knows it takes more than an akubra and khaki pants to settle an angry mob.
There’s no doubt that the new ferry terminal design will withstand future flood events, but should that have been the primary outcome of this competition ? I feel in her conservatism, Anna has grossly underestimated the people of BrizVegas. Sadly, in feeding us the design equivalent of meat and three veg, I fear we are witnessing the dissipation of the creative groundswell that seemed so promising in the wake of the flood disaster.