19 April 2016

Westside wonder

| Paul Costigan
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Last July the ACT Government announced plans to develop a shipping container village by the lake on the west side of Commonwealth Avenue. I missed the original announcement, but having now read some of the media releases, I can see that there was a lot of optimism about how this wondrous project was going change our lives.

I was out of the country for quite a bit late last year, but when I was in Canberra in late September I drove past the Westside construction for the first time and was unable to work out at exactly what I was looking.

To be honest, having walked around the Westside site in April, I am still not sure what it is really all about. I have read the spin and looked at information online, but the reality is something else. This thing they called Westside is a mess! I wonder, did our glorious National Capital Authority, who came down heavy on that red burger van on the other side of the lake, provide their approval for this blight on the landscape?

Last September I attended a photography festival in Singapore and was taken aback when we walked to the site early in the week to see that construction was just starting for a major opening to be there on the Friday night. Well despite all our doubts, it happened. The centre has continued to be an innovative art centre to this day. When I questioned the event director about how she brought it all together in time, she laughed and explained that Australia was at the leading edge in the use of shipping containers for such innovations. Here’s a picture or two from the opening night in Singapore.

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deck-P1070791

So what is going on here in Canberra? The ACT Government generously blessed someone’s bright idea with close to one million dollars on the grounds that it would be ready for Floriade (no, not this year’s Floriade. Floriade 2014).

Whether you agree with this initiative or not, many – myself included – are stunned that this million dollar so-called pop-up centre is yet to fully pop-up. There are some food vans now open, and apparently they are optimistic about being fully functional very soon. I just love optimism!

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The use of shipping containers and other materials to build exciting structures for cultural activities is now a well-accepted model. In the hands of people who know what they are doing, previously overlooked spaces in cities have certainly been brought to life and become fun places to gather. Sadly for Canberra, this Westside project is yet to be one of these success stories, despite all the tax payer money.

I would usually throw heaps of praise at any government that takes calculated chances and goes out on a limb to something that is culturally innovative. So far this isn’t one of those.

I can only imagine that someone in our government has believed their own hype around the developments in Braddon and they thought that it could be easily exported from Braddon to another part of the city. Naivety in government can be a dangerous thing when it comes to cultural events and a million dollars.

I hope that this Westside shambles is not going to spoil opportunities for realistic creative ideas for cultural activities any time in the near future. I cannot help to think what the same amount of money assigned to some of our established artists or experienced arts organisations could have done to bring some life to that piece of our cherished landscape.

Someone in this government needs to re-think how such decision are made.

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Holden Caulfield4:14 pm 02 Jun 15

vintage123 said :

Was there anything that recorded your attendance? I am just wondering how they are tracking visitor numbers.

Not that I could see. There was a person handing out a brochure/guide as we walked in, but he didn’t appear to have a mechanised counter or anything like that.

Holden Caulfield said :

I went again on the weekend. I think the idea of using this otherwise dead space by the lake is to be applauded, but it’s a summer venue.

On the weekend it was cold and the food outlets that were open had sold out of a lot of their menu options (I was there a bit after 12:30pm).

I’m not sure if all the construction is finished, but there’s still a few barriers up and it could be mistaken for a building site if you didn’t already know Westside existed.

Mostly, it’s just too cold at this time of year and it’s not a great location, so I can’t see it doing too well until the weather warms up.

Was there anything that recorded your attendance? I am just wondering how they are tracking visitor numbers.

Holden Caulfield1:03 pm 02 Jun 15

I went again on the weekend. I think the idea of using this otherwise dead space by the lake is to be applauded, but it’s a summer venue.

On the weekend it was cold and the food outlets that were open had sold out of a lot of their menu options (I was there a bit after 12:30pm).

I’m not sure if all the construction is finished, but there’s still a few barriers up and it could be mistaken for a building site if you didn’t already know Westside existed.

Mostly, it’s just too cold at this time of year and it’s not a great location, so I can’t see it doing too well until the weather warms up.

Andrew Barr was just on ABC Radio 666 defending the “outstanding success” that Westside has delivered. He even hinted that it may be there for a long time.
He admitted that the concept was focused on the under 50’s.
Shame he didn’t say all this before.

vintage123 said :

One of the biggest stumbling blocks my company uncovered when we investigated usage of used shipping containers was the existence of chemical residue within the wooden floors as a result of fumigation during the containers shipping existence.

We found it almost impossible to guarantee safety unless the container was brand new and manufactured in Australia. We also found whilst the floor could be replaced it was not cost effective.

I wonder if the containers used at Westside have been certified safe and free of fumigation residue?

McCabe is on his way there now.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks my company uncovered when we investigated usage of used shipping containers was the existence of chemical residue within the wooden floors as a result of fumigation during the containers shipping existence.

We found it almost impossible to guarantee safety unless the container was brand new and manufactured in Australia. We also found whilst the floor could be replaced it was not cost effective.

I wonder if the containers used at Westside have been certified safe and free of fumigation residue?

Ezy said :

timesup said :

I’d go, but there is no wheelchair access except for the ground floor. Let me know how the rooftop bar is.

I went there to check it out for the first time on Saturday during the day – I walked up to the top level and it looks as though there is space for a lift. Wether this is going to be part of the future plan, or it was only used for carrying things up during construction, I am not sure.

For me, the precinct feels a bit lost and it certainly isn’t something that you would go out of your way to visit the way it is now. I really feel sorry for the vendors who have set themselves up here – for it to be the way it is (incomplete) at the start of the coldest months in Canberra, isn’t going to do them any favours. I think the real success of this venue will be when it hosts events and gives people a reason to visit the site.

I really hope something happens where it turns around and becomes a success.

A good gust of wind could turn it around.

timesup said :

I’d go, but there is no wheelchair access except for the ground floor. Let me know how the rooftop bar is.

I went there to check it out for the first time on Saturday during the day – I walked up to the top level and it looks as though there is space for a lift. Wether this is going to be part of the future plan, or it was only used for carrying things up during construction, I am not sure.

For me, the precinct feels a bit lost and it certainly isn’t something that you would go out of your way to visit the way it is now. I really feel sorry for the vendors who have set themselves up here – for it to be the way it is (incomplete) at the start of the coldest months in Canberra, isn’t going to do them any favours. I think the real success of this venue will be when it hosts events and gives people a reason to visit the site.

I really hope something happens where it turns around and becomes a success.

karmatraveller said :

Architects were Cox Architecture, I’d say they’re pretty competent based on their portfolio of previous works.

Good one mate.

It is getting hard to get past the heavy handed censoring here.

I’ll try again. Cox and Associates were lambasted by their fellow architects for the Star Casino in Sydney and I really doubt this one is going in their portfolio.

I’d go, but there is no wheelchair access except for the ground floor. Let me know how the rooftop bar is.

karmatraveller said :

rubaiyat said :

rosscoact said :

However in this particular instance I would have assumed that say, the structural engineering design was almost certainly done by a consultant. And the engineers were probably well-paid, or at least paid as well as any professional, but probably less than they themselves think they are worth.

Whenever you want a vastly overblown, poorly sited, extravagant eyesore, engineers are your go to.

Thankfully they didn’t turn to any competent architects for this job.

However we got to this position, IMHO it is poorly sited, unimaginative and gets barely any usage, even with the laughable target of “every long weekend”. Held up against every other similar pop-up it is wanting in execution, visual appeal and results.

So yes I have reluctantly joined the chorus yelling “Get your garbage off my lawn!”

Architects were Cox Architecture, I’d say they’re pretty competent based on their portfolio of previous works.

Good one mate.

No doubt about their competency but they should review the slightly incorrect timings that they quoted on industry media reports:

“Steering away from the traditional stereotype of a “quiet, clean and tidy Canberra”, designer and Cox associate Ronan Moss says the design of the space will be “real” and “grungy”.

“This starts with our use of shipping containers as the core element – allowing for flexibility of design and use, economy, and for us to create dynamic spaces which can be easily and rapidly disassembled and rebuilt in multiple locations around Canberra,” he explains.

The shipping containers, which stack up as a cost-effective building module, will contain programs such as cafes and retail. Tenants will fit out their own spaces to suit their needs.

A steel structure will then be built around these containers, and which will be erected in just three weeks. The materials will be pre-fabricated off-site, with no traditional trades expected to go through it during construction.”

karmatraveller1:43 am 30 May 15

rubaiyat said :

rosscoact said :

However in this particular instance I would have assumed that say, the structural engineering design was almost certainly done by a consultant. And the engineers were probably well-paid, or at least paid as well as any professional, but probably less than they themselves think they are worth.

Whenever you want a vastly overblown, poorly sited, extravagant eyesore, engineers are your go to.

Thankfully they didn’t turn to any competent architects for this job.

However we got to this position, IMHO it is poorly sited, unimaginative and gets barely any usage, even with the laughable target of “every long weekend”. Held up against every other similar pop-up it is wanting in execution, visual appeal and results.

So yes I have reluctantly joined the chorus yelling “Get your garbage off my lawn!”

Architects were Cox Architecture, I’d say they’re pretty competent based on their portfolio of previous works.

Good one mate.

karmatraveller1:36 am 30 May 15

I wonder if it would have been a good idea for the writer of this article to have actually gone down to the Westside Acton Park prior to posting his rant to see what the site as become in the past few weeks. A steady influx of parliamentary workers and CBD public servants visiting the site during their weekday lunch breaks. The site on weekends is frequented by families, people exercising around the lake, and groups coming in to use the street basketball and futsal soccer setups. There’s a custom BMX track being finalised, and a bunch of upcoming events invigorating the Canberra social scene.

Have there been issues? Yup. But how about a thumbs up for government initiative, and a bit of support for local entrepreneurs.

P.S… maybe you should have had a read on the City to Lake initiative before finalising your article.

I went before Skyfire and it was great! Not sure how popular it’ll be on brutal winter days and nights but in summer weather no problem. From memory its only temporary installation anyway until the ACT Govt is ready to develop the site for other uses. Hooray something different and experimental in Canberra!

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

Is that 18 months since work commenced or 18 months from now?

Under this criteria it will still be there after the next election.

Under the same criteria, so will the Labor government.

dungfungus said :

Is that 18 months since work commenced or 18 months from now?

Under this criteria it will still be there after the next election.

rubaiyat said :

Whenever you want a vastly overblown, poorly sited, extravagant eyesore, engineers are your go to.

This is almost universally true. Engineers are only responsible for things not falling down. I don’t know who the architects are and they have not done an admirable job here but it the end, it’s the client that creates the brief.

Masquara said :

dungfungus said :

Sandman said :

The problem with doing public projects in this city is that the public feels entitled to appoint themselves as consultants on every aspect of the project.

The contractors working on this project see other another problems such as not being paid.
The public have been misled on this one – it was “sold” as a temporary “pop-up” fun-thing but with all the regulatory oversight delaying completion it is clearly meant to be permanent.
We have ourselves to blame to allow a “Port Botany on Acton” to evolve as we have tolerated a container being sited outside old Parliament House for the past 30 years.
Random placements of shipping containers anywhere are questionable. These two examples are eyesores (public eyesores to be precise) and they are truly cringe-worthy.
At the risk of repeating myself again, this government continually finds new ways to waste money.

Not permanent according to the ACT Govt rep interviewed on 666 the other day. Shelf-life of 18 months for our $950,000, he said.

Is that 18 months since work commenced or 18 months from now?

wildturkeycanoe6:37 am 29 May 15

vintage123 said :

If executed correctly should look something like this
http://www.modular.org/images/image_event/10conv/4393a.pdf

This looks more like the blueprints for the Gungahlin Tramway than a hotel, although I first thought they were specs for an alien spacecraft.
It’ll never happen, the safety issues of having people interacting amongst hydraulically moving sections alone would be an OH&S nightmare. Then you have the problem of power reticulation of components that are always in motion. Nice “out there” idea but in practicality not going to happen until technology is able to make electricity transmittable through air.

On another note about shipping containers, they are not very good at letting mobile phone signals through so any structure clad by steel will need mobile signal boosters so you can keep Tweeting your friends.

rosscoact said :

However in this particular instance I would have assumed that say, the structural engineering design was almost certainly done by a consultant. And the engineers were probably well-paid, or at least paid as well as any professional, but probably less than they themselves think they are worth.

Whenever you want a vastly overblown, poorly sited, extravagant eyesore, engineers are your go to.

Thankfully they didn’t turn to any competent architects for this job.

However we got to this position, IMHO it is poorly sited, unimaginative and gets barely any usage, even with the laughable target of “every long weekend”. Held up against every other similar pop-up it is wanting in execution, visual appeal and results.

So yes I have reluctantly joined the chorus yelling “Get your garbage off my lawn!”

rosscoact said :

Tymefor said :

I worry how old a lot of the commenters are beginning to sound on riot.

“…beginning to sound……”?

The Riot Act is often the digital equivalent of yelling “get off my lawn!”

ROTFL!!!!

being a younger organisation its best to follow them on Instagram for the best info @westsideacton

https://instagram.com/westsideacton/

for those still on browsers……..

dungfungus said :

Sandman said :

The problem with doing public projects in this city is that the public feels entitled to appoint themselves as consultants on every aspect of the project.

The contractors working on this project see other another problems such as not being paid.
The public have been misled on this one – it was “sold” as a temporary “pop-up” fun-thing but with all the regulatory oversight delaying completion it is clearly meant to be permanent.
We have ourselves to blame to allow a “Port Botany on Acton” to evolve as we have tolerated a container being sited outside old Parliament House for the past 30 years.
Random placements of shipping containers anywhere are questionable. These two examples are eyesores (public eyesores to be precise) and they are truly cringe-worthy.
At the risk of repeating myself again, this government continually finds new ways to waste money.

Not permanent according to the ACT Govt rep interviewed on 666 the other day. Shelf-life of 18 months for our $950,000, he said.

vintage123 said :

ChrisinTurner said :

Seeing Canberra has the largest shipping container building (in the world?) at ANU, surely we can do better. See http://www.quicksmarthomes.com/applications/student-housing/australian-national-university.aspx

How did we end up something like Westside? It is just plain ugly and I am ashamed to have to explain to visitors, when passing by, what it is.

I believe it was due to the government accepting an unsolicited proposal from a company with no experience in similiar projects. If they had released a tender for a competitive process aimed at the applicable market they would have had a better chance for success. These evolutionary designs are best left to the experts.

However noting the willingness of the government to accept such proposals I am considering firing one in for the landscaping, in keeping with the theme I am sure 400k to supply some rusted out old 44 gallon drums, a few used tyres and maybe a feature wall of used VB stubbies would be considered bespoke recycling and appealing. No dramas rolling the tyres and drums to the next pop up location.

“……some rusted out old 44 gallon drums, a few used tyres and maybe a feature wall of used VB stubbies……”
This could be a dedication to past pop-up villages like Baringa Gardens, Burnie Court and Fraser Court.

vintage123 said :

Mysteryman said :

Maya123 said :

Shipping containers can be used in exciting ways. I visited the shipping container shops in Christchurch, NZ and was ‘blown’ away by how exciting they were. They were used after the original building were destroyed in the earthquake.
https://www.google.com.au/search?q=christchurch+shipping+containers+shops&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=InVlVYiNA83d8AX41YPoAQ&ved=0CB0QsAQ&biw=1435&bih=940

That’s exactly right. And despite what others are saying, they are generally much cheaper. Anyone who has worked with them will tell you that.

When I had an opportunity to invest in shipping container homes, I investigated it and researched it extensively. I instead invested in this concept.
http://www.treehugger.com/modular-design/not-shipping-container-house-it-something-far-more-significant.html
Please note why it is evidenced that shipping containers are not actually suited to building.
I also invested heavily in 3d printing homes.
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/3d-printed-houses-construction-industry-neighborhoods-2015-3
We are currently looking at concepts to facilitate a $300 a m2 build cost, which would see the average cost to build a typical canberra home plummet to around 100k.
I am confident we could have built Westside for around 300k and within 8 months.

This is really good stuff. I looked for a self-sufficient container home on a trailer but was looking at $85k for a single container. And that was without the decks etc and without the trailer costs.

I figured that even with sub-average skills and getting a lot of help I could do it way cheaper than that. I was considering something like what this https://youtu.be/RSzgh3D7-Q0. Hire a piece of yard somewhere and get it to lockup in a month and finished in three.

But I’ll go look at those links. $300m2 is game changing

Mysteryman said :

Maya123 said :

Shipping containers can be used in exciting ways. I visited the shipping container shops in Christchurch, NZ and was ‘blown’ away by how exciting they were. They were used after the original building were destroyed in the earthquake.
https://www.google.com.au/search?q=christchurch+shipping+containers+shops&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=InVlVYiNA83d8AX41YPoAQ&ved=0CB0QsAQ&biw=1435&bih=940

That’s exactly right. And despite what others are saying, they are generally much cheaper. Anyone who has worked with them will tell you that.

When I had an opportunity to invest in shipping container homes, I investigated it and researched it extensively. I instead invested in this concept.
http://www.treehugger.com/modular-design/not-shipping-container-house-it-something-far-more-significant.html
Please note why it is evidenced that shipping containers are not actually suited to building.
I also invested heavily in 3d printing homes.
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/3d-printed-houses-construction-industry-neighborhoods-2015-3
We are currently looking at concepts to facilitate a $300 a m2 build cost, which would see the average cost to build a typical canberra home plummet to around 100k.
I am confident we could have built Westside for around 300k and within 8 months.

ChrisinTurner said :

Seeing Canberra has the largest shipping container building (in the world?) at ANU, surely we can do better. See http://www.quicksmarthomes.com/applications/student-housing/australian-national-university.aspx

How did we end up something like Westside? It is just plain ugly and I am ashamed to have to explain to visitors, when passing by, what it is.

I believe it was due to the government accepting an unsolicited proposal from a company with no experience in similiar projects. If they had released a tender for a competitive process aimed at the applicable market they would have had a better chance for success. These evolutionary designs are best left to the experts.

However noting the willingness of the government to accept such proposals I am considering firing one in for the landscaping, in keeping with the theme I am sure 400k to supply some rusted out old 44 gallon drums, a few used tyres and maybe a feature wall of used VB stubbies would be considered bespoke recycling and appealing. No dramas rolling the tyres and drums to the next pop up location.

I haven’t been there as yet, so cannot comment on what it’s like but I’m looking forward to their first market on Satuday 6th June.

ChrisinTurner3:43 pm 28 May 15

Seeing Canberra has the largest shipping container building (in the world?) at ANU, surely we can do better. See http://www.quicksmarthomes.com/applications/student-housing/australian-national-university.aspx

How did we end up something like Westside? It is just plain ugly and I am ashamed to have to explain to visitors, when passing by, what it is.

If executed correctly should look something like this
http://www.modular.org/images/image_event/10conv/4393a.pdf

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

Mysteryman said :

Sandman said :

The problem with doing public projects in this city is that the public feels entitled to appoint themselves as consultants on every aspect of the project.

Why shouldn’t they? They are the financiers.

Well that’s certainly the case, the only problem is that you get 100 of the great unwashed into a room to talk about a project there will be 100 different, mostly uninformed, almost exclusively self-interested opinions.

Any consultant that behaved in that way would be sacked at the very least.

The public make very poor consultants.

Are you trying to tell me that we need highly paid consultants to advise on dumping a stack of ugly, empty shipping containers in the centre of Australia’s beautiful capital?
We really have got the government we deserve and the voters to keep them there.

My comment was a more broader comment in response to the broader comment I quoted.

However in this particular instance I would have assumed that say, the structural engineering design was almost certainly done by a consultant. And the engineers were probably well-paid, or at least paid as well as any professional, but probably less than they themselves think they are worth.

So I guess the actual answer to your specific question is yes.

rosscoact said :

Mysteryman said :

Sandman said :

The problem with doing public projects in this city is that the public feels entitled to appoint themselves as consultants on every aspect of the project.

Why shouldn’t they? They are the financiers.

Well that’s certainly the case, the only problem is that you get 100 of the great unwashed into a room to talk about a project there will be 100 different, mostly uninformed, almost exclusively self-interested opinions.

Any consultant that behaved in that way would be sacked at the very least.

The public make very poor consultants.

Are you trying to tell me that we need highly paid consultants to advise on dumping a stack of ugly, empty shipping containers in the centre of Australia’s beautiful capital?
We really have got the government we deserve and the voters to keep them there.

switch said :

rosscoact said :

The public make very poor consultants.

But a bunch of frustrated public servants and other total randoms on RiotACT can often see problems coming that are blithely swept under the carpet by the government(s) and their well-paid consultants.

I think it’s a bit harsh to call The Riot Act contributors ‘frustrated public servants and other total randoms’. Most respondents here are genuine in their contributions to whatever debates they are involved in. It’s a perfectly normal, middle-brow, self-selecting discourse of the day and should be encouraged.

Fortunately, we have an advantage over everybody in public and commercial life in that nobody on here has to make anything work, and under constant interrogation and scrutiny, ever. Or rather of they do, they do it in secret and just vent here. There is possibly exceptions to this but certainly few.

We use that advantage to criticise facets of whatever topic-du-jour without ever having to make a compromise, change our minds, be convinced of the other point of view, take competing priorities into consideration, find the funds and knock back other opportunities to do things.

Of course, those people who are in elected office, or who are highly paid consultants, tend to spend little if any time in this type of forum defending their decisions because they have voice and alternate ways of finding out if on the whole, people support what they are doing.

rosscoact said :

The public make very poor consultants.

But a bunch of frustrated public servants and other total randoms on RiotACT can often see problems coming that are blithely swept under the carpet by the government(s) and their well-paid consultants.

Mysteryman said :

Sandman said :

The problem with doing public projects in this city is that the public feels entitled to appoint themselves as consultants on every aspect of the project.

Why shouldn’t they? They are the financiers.

Well that’s certainly the case, the only problem is that you get 100 of the great unwashed into a room to talk about a project there will be 100 different, mostly uninformed, almost exclusively self-interested opinions.

Any consultant that behaved in that way would be sacked at the very least.

The public make very poor consultants.

Sandman said :

The problem with doing public projects in this city is that the public feels entitled to appoint themselves as consultants on every aspect of the project.

The contractors working on this project see other another problems such as not being paid.
The public have been misled on this one – it was “sold” as a temporary “pop-up” fun-thing but with all the regulatory oversight delaying completion it is clearly meant to be permanent.
We have ourselves to blame to allow a “Port Botany on Acton” to evolve as we have tolerated a container being sited outside old Parliament House for the past 30 years.
Random placements of shipping containers anywhere are questionable. These two examples are eyesores (public eyesores to be precise) and they are truly cringe-worthy.
At the risk of repeating myself again, this government continually finds new ways to waste money.

Sandman said :

The problem with doing public projects in this city is that the public feels entitled to appoint themselves as consultants on every aspect of the project.

Why shouldn’t they? They are the financiers.

Maya123 said :

Shipping containers can be used in exciting ways. I visited the shipping container shops in Christchurch, NZ and was ‘blown’ away by how exciting they were. They were used after the original building were destroyed in the earthquake.
https://www.google.com.au/search?q=christchurch+shipping+containers+shops&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=InVlVYiNA83d8AX41YPoAQ&ved=0CB0QsAQ&biw=1435&bih=940

That’s exactly right. And despite what others are saying, they are generally much cheaper. Anyone who has worked with them will tell you that.

Sandman said :

The problem with doing public projects in this city is that the public feels entitled to appoint themselves as consultants on every aspect of the project.

Now, why would that be, I wonder ?

Anything to do with the often hopeless, inept planning and city design that has become the norm in the ACT now ? Perhaps its the project management and infrastructure spending priority setting by the ACTs Labor/Green’s Government, then ? Nah, surely not……..

The problem with doing public projects in this city is that the public feels entitled to appoint themselves as consultants on every aspect of the project.

Shipping containers can be used in exciting ways. I visited the shipping container shops in Christchurch, NZ and was ‘blown’ away by how exciting they were. They were used after the original building were destroyed in the earthquake.
https://www.google.com.au/search?q=christchurch+shipping+containers+shops&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=InVlVYiNA83d8AX41YPoAQ&ved=0CB0QsAQ&biw=1435&bih=940

Milly Withers4:15 pm 27 May 15

Tymefor said :

At 33 I admit to not totally “getting” everything that people like at that place. So I’ll steal from my apprentices responses to some clients talking about it much like this article does.

They said to liken it more to a “modern” youthcentre. That is more for teens and young adults that want to do “stuff” that hopefully appeals to the broader community. But if it doesn’t they don’t care.

I’m in my mid twenties and Westside actually sounds like a really interesting space, even if it is THE SLOWEST pop up village to ever have popped. While I haven’t been down to check it out, the food vans that recently opened are at the top of my list to try this weekend. Perhaps, as Tymefor suggests, it depends on your generation.

Kudos to the ACT Government for trying something new and culturally innovative. For the amount of cash that has been spent already, my goodness I hope they can pull it off.

Tymefor said :

Most of the events and action happens at nights there. Much like in the pictures you took in Singapore. Closer to and on the days of actual events there are hundreds of people using that space…. once again just like in Singapore….

The colab they did with Nat Cap the other weekend was hugely successful with thousands using the space and the events spilling into the carpark. Futuresessions was good from what I heard, couldn’t make it to that. There are bootcamps in the mornings and home brew beer festivals in the arvos lol. Do you know anybody with kids that dance?? then they would be able to tell you about the Aus dance week held there in April

The venders (rent) that have finally managed to open should, Hopefully, pretty much cover the cost of opening the place. If the markets end up working there that should also bring in a little extra to cover the cost aswell

EVERY long weekend there have been successful events held there. Maybe go check out ACT JAM 2015 which is being held there Q’s b’day weekend. rather than strolling around in the middle of the day during school holidays lol.

I worry how old a lot of the commenters are beginning to sound on riot.

At 33 I admit to not totally “getting” everything that people like at that place. So I’ll steal from my apprentices responses to some clients talking about it much like this article does.

They said to liken it more to a “modern” youthcentre. That is more for teens and young adults that want to do “stuff” that hopefully appeals to the broader community. But if it doesn’t they don’t care.

A winter night in Singapore is balmy at worst.
In Canberra? About 5 degrees and falling.
I find it hard to believe people are going there at night at this time of year but I accept your word.

Tymefor said :

I worry how old a lot of the commenters are beginning to sound on riot.

At 33 I admit to not totally “getting” everything that people like at that place. So I’ll steal from my apprentices responses to some clients talking about it much like this article does.

They said to liken it more to a “modern” youthcentre. That is more for teens and young adults that want to do “stuff” that hopefully appeals to the broader community. But if it doesn’t they don’t care.

“…beginning to sound……”?

The Riot Act is often the digital equivalent of yelling “get off my lawn!”

Most of the events and action happens at nights there. Much like in the pictures you took in Singapore. Closer to and on the days of actual events there are hundreds of people using that space…. once again just like in Singapore….

The colab they did with Nat Cap the other weekend was hugely successful with thousands using the space and the events spilling into the carpark. Futuresessions was good from what I heard, couldn’t make it to that. There are bootcamps in the mornings and home brew beer festivals in the arvos lol. Do you know anybody with kids that dance?? then they would be able to tell you about the Aus dance week held there in April

The venders (rent) that have finally managed to open should, Hopefully, pretty much cover the cost of opening the place. If the markets end up working there that should also bring in a little extra to cover the cost aswell

EVERY long weekend there have been successful events held there. Maybe go check out ACT JAM 2015 which is being held there Q’s b’day weekend. rather than strolling around in the middle of the day during school holidays lol.

I worry how old a lot of the commenters are beginning to sound on riot. At 33 I admit to not totally “getting” everything that people like at that place. So I’ll steal from my apprentices responses to some clients talking about it much like this article does.

They said to liken it more to a “modern” youthcentre. That is more for teens and young adults that want to do “stuff” that hopefully appeals to the broader community. But if it doesn’t they don’t care.

And we all thought Kate had lost it when she built a futsal slab there last century.

Mysteryman said :

vintage123 said :

Why on earth would someone use shipping containers as a base for building? Firstly, they are not cheap, or environmentally friendly and always require modification, which is always expensive.

That’s not even close to true. They are cheap. VERY cheap. Yes, modification is required, but it is not “always expensive”. A full size house can be built with shipping containers for somewhere between a quarter and half the cost of standard construction – and it doesn’t even look like it was made from shipping containers.

vintage123 said :

Once modified they lose a lot of their inherent transportation quality in which case they need to be re engineered. Any way you skin this, what appeared as a speedy, basic, affordable, simplistic solution to building has resulted in an unapproved, unengineered, costly, untransportable, unusable, inhabitable, unsightly was of money.

In the context of the “pop-up” Westside Action Park, you’re absolutely right. The use of shipping containers should have made the whole project fast, simple, and cheap. But in true ACT Government fashion, it has been none of those things. To make matters worse, it’s ugly. Very ugly.

Like Paul, I ventured down there one midday in April to see what it was all about. I found the place almost abandoned. I wandered around for 5 mins and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was supposed to be, or what one is supposed to do there. There was nobody around, and the place honestly looked like it had been forgotten about, and left in a less-than-half-completed state. I went online with my phone from the carpark to try and find some information about Westside Action Park, but there was nothing useful to be found.

So far it seems like a giant waste of money. A giant, disappointing waste.

I am sure you are aware I was a very successful property developer in a past life. So I do know a thing or two about building and the associated costs. As for engineering, yeah, I have a bit of experience on that too. I know a hundred ways of building something the size and function of a shipping container for half its price. The actual design of a shipping container does not even comply with BCA. Once you add manpower to convert one to habitable following the BCA process, you will find an A grade container (6k) turns into a 60k single door, single window, dark, mouldy, low ceiling box.

vintage123 said :

Why on earth would someone use shipping containers as a base for building? Firstly, they are not cheap, or environmentally friendly and always require modification, which is always expensive.

That’s not even close to true. They are cheap. VERY cheap. Yes, modification is required, but it is not “always expensive”. A full size house can be built with shipping containers for somewhere between a quarter and half the cost of standard construction – and it doesn’t even look like it was made from shipping containers.

vintage123 said :

Once modified they lose a lot of their inherent transportation quality in which case they need to be re engineered. Any way you skin this, what appeared as a speedy, basic, affordable, simplistic solution to building has resulted in an unapproved, unengineered, costly, untransportable, unusable, inhabitable, unsightly was of money.

In the context of the “pop-up” Westside Action Park, you’re absolutely right. The use of shipping containers should have made the whole project fast, simple, and cheap. But in true ACT Government fashion, it has been none of those things. To make matters worse, it’s ugly. Very ugly.

Like Paul, I ventured down there one midday in April to see what it was all about. I found the place almost abandoned. I wandered around for 5 mins and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was supposed to be, or what one is supposed to do there. There was nobody around, and the place honestly looked like it had been forgotten about, and left in a less-than-half-completed state. I went online with my phone from the carpark to try and find some information about Westside Action Park, but there was nothing useful to be found.

So far it seems like a giant waste of money. A giant, disappointing waste.

I would like to say ‘Great idea, abysmal execution’ because I’m happy enough to criticise without really knowing the reasons behind the apparent lack of ability to execute a simple project.

Perhaps we could get the Christchurch people over to help? A boatload of Maori’s and getting out of the road can solve most things.

GardeningGirl12:22 pm 27 May 15

“Whether you agree with this initiative or not, many – myself included – are stunned that this million dollar so-called pop-up centre is yet to fully pop-up.”
Is it still a pop-up when it takes so long? Or can there be a category for it in the Guinness Book of Records?

It looks hideous. Why on earth would someone use shipping containers as a base for building? Firstly, they are not cheap, or environmentally friendly and always require modification, which is always expensive. Once modified they lose a lot of their inherent transportation quality in which case they need to be re engineered. Any way you skin this, what appeared as a speedy, basic, affordable, simplistic solution to building has resulted in an unapproved, unengineered, costly, untransportable, unusable, inhabitable, unsightly was of money.

Holden Caulfield10:40 am 27 May 15

I’ve only been to Westside once, during Art Not Apart festival. It seemed to be working pretty well then, when there was lots of other activity.

However, the rooftop bar, or whatever you want to call it, has a pretty major design flaw. The best viewing access from the top is looking towards Parliament House. Sadly that view has been blocked out by the bar. Yes, really, the best aspect has been blocked out.

Worse, the views that are left are not s good as you might hope. So the loss of the view towards the Hill is further impounded.

Facepalm.

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