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Brickworks Dreaming

By johnboy - 20 August 2010 19

[First filed: Aug 19, 2010 @ 10:30]

Vision of a Brickworks

On 17 August a select audience was shown four options for redeveloping the Yarralumla Brickworks. They’re now online and are:

    1. Mothballing. Cost $7 Million. Sheet 1.

    2. Cold Shell. Cost $59 Million, provides 320 dwellings and 8,000 square metres of commercial space. Sheet 1, Sheet 2.

    3. Adaptation. Cost 117 Million, provides 900+ dwellings and 25,000 square metres of commercial space. Sheet 1, Sheet 2, Sheet 3.

    4. National Treasure. Cost $196 Million, provides 1,800+ dwellings and 60,000+ square metres of commercial space. Sheet 1, Sheet 2, Sheet 3.

    At the Yarralumla Brickworks I'd like to see them go for

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19 Responses to
Brickworks Dreaming
Me no fry 10:59 am 20 Aug 10

I lived on-site occasionally at the Brickworks for a while in the late 1970’s and remember clearly the work done by Alan Marr with the aim of turning the brickworks into a tourist attraction. It’s an interesting place, but my (selfish) desire to see it left alone has more to do with preserving a part of my own personal history than anything else.

I do think it would be a shame to see it turned over mostly for housing. Parts of it could be used for special-purpose events, like antique shows, car shows (would Auto Italia fit in there?) and so on.

altkey 7:21 am 20 Aug 10

sepi said :

The brickworks is a great old building and should be preserved. I think shops, parks, markets etc would be fabulous. It seems like units is the inevitable result though.

The LDA, has made it clear in their propoganda that the residential aspect to the redevelopment of the brickworks site is the only way for any of the proposed plans to go ahead and be as they describe it cost-neutral. Forgive me for being cynical but it seems with this aspect of the plan that it is yet another cash grab for the government coffers and an opportunity for the developers of this city to whack up another dodgy, flawed building.

Living in Yarralumla near the brickworks, although I like the idea of the redevelopment of the actual brickworks – something like the Glassworks in Kingston would be great – and in keeping with the nature of the suburb as it currently exists. I am concerned however, that like so many other developments in this city, the plans put to the people of Canberra have not been completely thought through.

For example, the main access road to the housing development as part of three of the proposed plans is onto Cotter Road – great however Cotter Road is already logjammed at this point at the best of times and is only going to get worse with the Molongolo development and the traffic flowing from the inner south through to it. Its just as bad coming off Adelaide Avenue at Kent/Novar Streets and even less capacity at these points to increase the flow of traffic.

And despite what some might say, the suburb is definitely shared with the city! Between the rowers, cyclists, runners recreating around the lake and weston park areas, the tourists sticky beaking at the embassies and government house, the optimistic latte sippers hoping to get a table at Bees and Co, green thumbed and plaid check types heading to the yarralumla nursery and royal golf clubs respectively and more recently the dog park there is always something going on.

Ryoma 10:37 pm 19 Aug 10

I have no idea what the demographics of Riot-Acters are overall, but I find it interesting that the `National Treasure` option is most popular so far.

I can only fervently wish that someone from the ACT Government and (just as importantly, our local development industry) actually reads this post. Maybe then both will wake up to the fact that many people actually quite like the idea of higher density living, provided it`s done well and has appropriate infrastructure in place.

I also voted for this option. I don`t mind the Adaptation version either, but this option actually provides for slightly more parkland as well as more housing.

My only concerns are;

a) As clueless 70 says, if there`s no useful commercial development at street level actually within walking distance of the housing, this will become a massive ghetto. No-one wants to live between 2 main roads if there`s nothing actually there but houses.

b) I`m not keen on having too much commercial stuff. Canberra has plenty of huge office spaces built on a giant (not human/walking scale) and our commmercial vacancy rates currently sit at around 14%. Wasn`t it stated recently that Canberra has enough retail space to support a population of around 1 million people? If we ended up with too much commercial space here we could kill off most of our remaining strip shopping centres.

On the other hand, lifting either the amount and/or diversity of housing (so that we get 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom housing in this project) or increasing parkland would help to increase our residential vacancy rate from its currently incredibly tight levels.

Finally, is there any thought about how a future light rail line could link through here towards the future suburbs in the Molomglo Valley? Best we reserve a right of way now before the chance is lost….

Thumper 9:35 pm 19 Aug 10

Heritage is bunk. No-one would suffer to live in a heritage-listed dump if they had experienced something better – ie, almost anything else. Architecturally I don’t see anything of value on the brickworks site and I doubt the heritage value

Luckily more intelligent people than you didn’t bulldoze London, Rome, Paris and the like.

Built heritage has to start somewhere.

remodelling and reconditioning of the existing buildings

That would be adaptive reuse, a well known way of conserving old buildings.

sepi 9:21 pm 19 Aug 10

roman ruins were not that impressive 100 years after they were built either. With that attitude nothing old would survive.

The brickworks is a great old building and should be preserved. I think shops, parks, markets etc would be fabulous. It seems like units is the inevitable result though.

clueless70 8:45 pm 19 Aug 10

Heritage is bunk. No-one would suffer to live in a heritage-listed dump if they had experienced something better – ie, almost anything else. Architecturally I don’t see anything of value on the brickworks site and I doubt the heritage value. These are not Roman ruins.

If dynamiting the place and giving it over entirely to native-vegetation parkland is not an option, the most aesthetically satisfying one is the ‘National Treasure’ plan, which entails thorough remodelling and reconditioning of the existing buildings. The residential sections do seem to have the correct north-easterly aspect. As an exile who cannot return until property prices sink significantly, I am sympathetic to the more-houses-equals-better view. But however many human beings you might house in this sort of medium-to-high-density layout, you cannot import humanity into it. Does the commercial zone in the plan actually mean local markets or grocery shopping within walking distance? Most of it appears to be on the other side of a six-lane freeway. If to do anything life-enhancing beyond eating and sleeping would involve residents hopping into the car, the residential areas and their pretty park and playground will appear to be, or actually be, uninhabited most of the time.

thatsnotme 7:47 pm 19 Aug 10

I’ve visited Thors Hammer out there a few times, and often wondered why the area was being left to rot. It’s good to see that there are plans to turn it into something special. Hopefully the end result is as good as turning the old powerhouse into the glassworks has been, and the buildings can get a new lease on life.

M0les 4:49 pm 19 Aug 10

IMHO I prefer something between “Cold Shell” and “Adaptation” in that I think they should develop the quarry into a park, but get 3rd parties in to develop the internals of the buildings.

But if I had to choose one, I’d take the adaptation option. No real qualms against “National Treasure”, but I think mothballing (or “continuing to mothball”) would be a shame. The buildings look really great up close.

arescarti42 4:18 pm 19 Aug 10

Looks like an excellent spot for some infill to me, close to major transport infrastructure, public transport, Woden, Parliament and the city.

Noezis 3:49 pm 19 Aug 10

This could be quite a significant project, with comparisons to the refurbishment of the Rocks or Wharf apartments in Sydney.

If they select the right partnership to redevelop this area, there may be a boon to the ACT Treasury coffers.

Grrrr 3:20 pm 19 Aug 10

$200 million makes 2000 dwellings and extra space left over for commercial? Am I misunderstanding – that means anything over $100k on the sale of each dwelling is profit?

The ACT could do with a few thousand more dwellings to meet demand.

Outta Control 11:08 am 19 Aug 10

Ah yes, we all know about the National Trust and their “National Treasures”. Drink driving, AVO bound aboriginal magistrate Pat O’Shane is a “National Living Treasure”, so is former Labor/union hack Jenny George. Makes you wonder about their judgement, doesn’t it?

indigoid 11:04 am 19 Aug 10

Yep. Definitely turn it into apartments.


Bring it on!

Aurelius 10:45 am 19 Aug 10

Not everything old is worth preserving.
Do something useful with the site.

Ozhair 10:39 am 19 Aug 10

Anybody else puzzled by the fact that declaring the site a “National treasure” ends up cramming the most residential and commercial use onto the site…?

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