Letters / Two towers with different design stories

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Sky Plaza, left, a mixture of low, medium, and high-rise buildings in a visually unified grouping, arranged on a large block of land and, right, Grand Central Towers, the classic developer-driven concept that’s not a “Canberra” building – more down-market Melbourne.

On the basis we have to look at them, architect JACK KERSHAW compares the impact of two Woden tower blocks on the local environment. 

A CONSTRUCTIVE critique is intended in this comparative analysis of two high-rise residential building complexes in Woden. 

Surely, such public comment is valid – after all, we have to look at the buildings, or experience their impact on the local environment. The critique has application across Canberra. I have no pecuniary interest in either building. 

On the one hand, there’s Sky Plaza (near the Southern Cross Club). It’s a mixture of low, medium, and high-rise buildings in a visually unified grouping, arranged on a large block of land. The facades are articulated with varying balcony treatments. Any intrusive overlooking of other apartments is almost non-existent. The buildings do not overshadow public open space or neighbouring residences. 

Virtually all apartments have their living spaces facing north or east. There is extensive on-site landscaping. Colour has been used carefully on the multiple facades. Internal spaces are generous, and all bedrooms have a full-width external wall with sitting-down-view windows.

The development attracted a high percentage of owner-occupiers. The building doesn’t compete with the iconic Woden Town Centre “marker”, Lovett Tower. 

Only the south facade of the Sky Plaza tower disappoints.

On the other hand, there’s the classic developer-driven Grand Central Towers (GCT). Covering virtually all of a tight site near the bus station, it’s a slick new, curvilinear, overly tall, twin-tower complex, with in-board balconies (tempting later enclosure), almost totally covered in a proprietary dark-glass cladding system. 

In regard to the Sky Plaza analysis, GCT largely fails; and it offers few redeeming features. It’s not a “Canberra” building – more down-market Melbourne.

The well thought out ACT Apartment Design Code, which Sky Plaza appears to comply with, apparently disappeared from our planning requirements before the construction of Grand Central Towers.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah 

Grumpy about Clive

I AM making a complaint regarding the statements of columnist Clive Williams (“When talking grumpy, what really irritates me…”, CN October 22).

Linking the use of car horns to ethnicity is racist.

Disparaging what are effectively the accents of radio announcers is classist.

Criticising the use of Auslan interpreters is ableist (that’s low; Auslan interpreters are highly skilled professionals).

I usually enjoy “CityNews” and I am disappointed in your publication of these offensive comments.

Shirley Llorens, Chapman

When egos get in the way

SO, my interest and studies in politics seem to have borne fruit with the ACT election turning out pretty much as I expected and surmised in “CityNews” and local media. 

Labor made no gains, and in fact small losses, as a result of Andrew Barr being on the nose for many except welded-on supporters. 

The Liberal Party had moved so far to the right that it left most of its constituency behind and disaffected Labor voters didn’t feel that they could vote for it which really only left them the Greens. 

I had urged minor parties and independents, both personally and through the president of the Community Action Party, to amalgamate on community issues and run as a single entity or none of them would be elected. This came to pass as it seems that egos got in the way of common sense. 

I voted for Fiona Carrick (independent) who best represented my interests, although I did mention to her outside the Cooleman Court shops that I thought her chances were slim as I figured no independent or smaller party would make it on its own. 

I said much the same to Bill Stefaniak when he spoke with me before setting up the Belco Party.

So, if small parties and independents are not willing to join forces then where does this leave us? 

It means that we need a revitalised Liberal Party, which needs to move more to the centre and address such issues as euthanasia, women’s right to determine what is best for themselves, youth homelessness, youth unemployment, mental health and, of course, a good sense of economics. 

Anyway, as I do with all my letters, I put this out for people to think about.

Ric Hingee, Duffy 


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