Robert John Riddel writes in The Conversation (29.3.16) about the architectural and heritage importance of ‘landmark views’ to a city’s character. This comes in light of a development proposal in Brisbane’s CBD that would see the heritage-listed Customs House building overshadowed by a multi-storey apartment block.
‘Landmarks identify and define cities. Town-planning instruments usually protect these landmarks from development that does not respect the setting. But inappropriate development is placing one of Brisbane’s most important landmarks in danger. A proposed 47-storey tower threatens Customs House, on Queen Street, from being seen as it was intended to be.
‘Such developments are neither a new problem nor unique to Brisbane. The “Toaster” apartment building has compromised the view of the Sydney Opera House. In Melbourne, the proposed shards of Federation Square threatened the view of St Paul’s Cathedral from St Kilda Road at Princes Bridge. The impacts of both of these actions were very much an afterthought.
‘In London, it was realised as the Shard Tower was being constructed that it would affect the view of St Paul’s Cathedral. Lord Mayor Boris Johnson thus moved to protect views of the cathedral from specific vantage points with a clear viewshed diagram to ensure the dome can still be seen from identified locations. This demonstrates how best to pre-empt what may happen in the future, prevent unsuitable outcomes and protect views of landmarks.’