Urban Design

Hobart Waterfront International Design Competition

Xsquared Architects participated in the Hobart Waterfront International Design Competition.

We live at a time when issues regarding the sustainability of our cities are of general and increasing concern.

We are approaching a time of radical change in the way in which our cities operate.  This change will occur either because we as a community motivate ourselves to make our cities and the way in which we inhabit them more sustainable or because change is forced upon us by increasingly extreme climatic conditions and consequent changes in the availability of climate-sensitive resources.  What is inevitable is that change will occur, and that it will affect Hobart.  Our design projects 200 years forward in time to predict one possible response to these pressures.

There are strong cultural, emotional and legal motivations for the retention of as much of the existing fabric and pattern of the city as is practical.  In anticipation of the demise of private transport however, streets will become residual spaces within the city and are, in effect, development zones.  The Elizabeth Street development zone becomes one focus for densification of the city.  It, more than any other street, links the waterfront with the city centre and the sub-centre of North Hobart.  Complimenting this axis is the Davey Street / Macquarie Street green axis which links a new waterfront east of the Domain to South Hobart and forms a hub at its junction with the Elizabeth Street axis.

An elevated structure is constructed over the existing Elizabeth Street axis.  This new armature contains residential, cultural and commercial activities with industrial and agricultural activities concentrated at the River Derwent junction and on the roof.  Inter-nodal points within the armature accommodate social gathering places, vertical circulation and recreation facilities.  Common areas below the new elevated building are devoted to circulation and services.  The new structure reinforces the habitability of Elizabeth Street at ground level, providing filtered light and weather protection to the spaces below.  This densification of development offers the opportunity for enhanced social interaction and a more cohesive and co-operative community environment.