Monday, March 7, 2011

10 Murray Street retro fitting ideology fails to accept the buildings heritage values

I am confused as to why some who want to save 10 Murray Street Government Office block from demolition are seeking to "retro-fit" the building (see these 2 stories in the Mercury - "New Twist for old Block" and "10 Murray Facelift Push Grows"). If this building is a classic example of 1960s architecture in Tasmania, then why are proponents seeking to modernise the exterior of 10 Murray Street Government Offices, to something that is very different to the original style of the building?

Whilst I enjoyed the designs by architects of what 10 Murray Street offices could look like, I think they are missing one important aspect. If you change the exterior of the complex you end up with a completely different building, It's no longer 10 Murray Street, it just becomes another interpretation of what some people think it should look like in the 21st Century.

Whilst I appreciate that time is running out to save 10 Murray Street and the Art Deco Government Printing Office block from demolition, I would rather see 10 Murray Street demolished than have a design that "retro-fits" the exterior. Doing so would mean a loss of a 1960s classic, and the denial of what this period of building once stood for.

To view a photo essay of 10 Murray Street Government Offices I have complied click here


  1. Here Here!
    Your photos of 10 Murray St are could anyone want to mess with that exterior?!

  2. I just don't get why it's thought necessary to pull it down. It's functional. It's not going to win any beauty contests, but it still does it's job. And the Hobart skyline isn't going to be the same without it. I would have thought the bare government coffers would have helped scupper this plan by now, but alas...

    Also, I've seen a number of designs to retro-fit 10 Murray, and haven't been impressed by any of them.

  3. My opinion is that there is a middle ground in which the building can be retrofitted without damaging the building's heritage value.
    Unfortunately subtly is lost in the media - after months of trying to get the Mercury to be interested in the story it was proposed that the group use this image as a way of causing discussion. Which it has.

    Ironically, the building could be retrofitted to meet current environmental standards without changing the appearance... there is just no story in that!

    It is not a serious proposal. The image was produced for a competition to visualise architecture in the year 2050.
    Since its publication there has been a lot of positive feedback from people who previously only saw the building as being old and ugly.

    Ideally, (and this would be the possition of most of the Save 10 Murray Group) the heritage value of the building needs to be recognised, a conservation management plan (cmp) produced, and a design put forward for adaptive re-use that works within the cmp. There are lots of examples of adaptive re-use of heritage buildings where quite radical new architecture compliments the heritage values.

    Given all of that, I still think there is a strong argument for retention of the building on environmental and economic grounds even if it changes the appearance - however this would need to be done with care.


About the project

Join me (Thomas Ryan Photography) on a photographic project documenting Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism from the 1930's to the 1980's. The entire project gallery of 1000+ images and counting can be viewed on my website under art projects. I have been undertaking this project for over a decade.

My portfolio of commercial and art projects can be seen on my website and I can be contacted here as well. All photographs are copyright of Thomas Ryan Photography. Unauthorised use is prohibited. Contact me for all enquires

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