Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 25 Winter 2010 Contents 88 INSITE WINTER
"It means thinking about how we want to
grow, and what sort of city we want to finish
up with," he says. "And how do we preserve
things that are uniquely West Australian in
Perth through the growth?"
He brushes aside the idea of Perth as
Sydney or Melbourne's poor cousin. While
he admits there are lessons to be learned
from other cities, he says we shouldn't set
ourselves up as "the new Melbourne", an
idea that's being tossed about. Aside from
Perth being a different model of a city, it has
the benefit of the CBD being a defined zone
-- a "jewel in the landscape" -- unlike the
sprawling CBD of the Victorian capital.
He's focused on retaining what West
Australians value: "Landscape, access to
coast and river -- but still creating a city
that's more urban and activated. I think
you can have both, and when you get both
right, you'll have an extraordinary city as
compared to any other city in the world."
He should know. He's completed award-
winning works at sites such as Victoria's La
Trobe University and worked on projects in
Dubai, a place where things happen quickly.
" e time between conception and
construction is incredibly short, where
here we're faced with pretty long planning
processes. In lots of areas, it's like a blank
canvas... it's literally built out of the desert."
Steve and the Cox team are designing the
United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain --
the entire uni in one hit (the project was won
in 2005 and is nearing completion now after
a two-year planning process), which is a huge
undertaking considering his Manea College
project in Bunbury, for example, was
planned in 11 months and built in 16.
Steve says such rapid building has its
perils. " e downside of fast cities is that
quite often you have so much individual
building going that the sense of place and
the sense of city gets a bit lost," he says.
"Buildings can uplift the emotions, can make people more comfortable
in certain situations, can be enlightening in others. I love the notion
that buildings can have a really positive effect on people..."
Mining giant Rio Tinto s research and development building in
Melbourne (above and right) shows Steve s flair, as does the striking
concept picture of the Albany Entertainment Centre (top).
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