The Hobart

The Welcome Stranger- A Not So Welcome Sight

by Ms Development
The Welcome Stranger- A Not So Welcome Sight

A little while back I heard the news that Hexa Group is planning to develop The Welcome Stranger site on the corner of Davey and Harrington Streets into a proposed 13 storey, 45 metre building for commercial and residential use.

In case you don’t know, Hexa Group are a property development group headquartered in Melbourne and founded by an Australian developer collective and Quan Jun Da, an industrial giant with a multibillion-dollar annual turnover.

Development, when done sensitively and appropriately, can benefit a community. Old buildings may need to be rebuilt, or greenfield sites be utilised to offer better services and amenity to residents. But there’s a difference between objecting to development and objecting to bad design. I’m objecting to bad design. Looking at the renders of what the proposed building is to look like, well, frankly, it made my eyes hurt.

The bottom half of the new building is fine. Not amazing but non-offensive in the grand scheme of development – simple red brick structure, which is pretty much what is there now. But the top half the building goes rogue and seems to have been taken over by architects who seem to think “movement” in a building’s design is something to visually aspire to. The lines don’t match up, up top. That’s there to create “movement”, but in my opinion it makes the building feel just a bit cheap, temporary and dated before it even begins. It feels like it needs to go back to the drawing board, so to speak, for another round of changes, or ten, before the DA hits the council desk.

According to the Hexa Group website, “the height of the building is unremarkable in the context of Hobart – there are already 10 buildings that are 45 metres or taller in the CBD.” Well unremarkable that may be to a Melbourne development group but to a person living, breathing and working in Hobart having that height of building is one thing, but seeing it being played out with questionable design aesthetic is another.

This is the opposite of what Hobart needs right now, particularly given The Welcome Stranger corner is such a high profile site for visitors to our city, as well as being a landmark for locals travelling to the southern suburbs. We’re doing such a good job of putting out a vibe of being creative thinkers, and attracting interesting people, festivals and businesses to our shores, so why should we let ourselves down in the way our architecture comes to life?

People are coming here because we do things differently, because of places like Mona that show genuine creativity and the hard working small business operators who strive to create interesting and engaging products and services. We have an opportunity to shape this city into something unique, like the low rise European cities that people travel from everywhere to enjoy because they’re not highrise or ugly and because they have their own character and personality. Our goal should be to be a point of difference to larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne and strive for quality and timeless design that will last our lifetimes and those of our younger generations.

We need to demand better design from the architects and property developers who have the privilege of shaping our skyline, as well as the councils charged with approving the heights and structures. These buildings are legacy buildings and Hobartians deserve to enjoy quality architecture and design when moving about the city.

And don’t get me started on Macquarie Point. We have an incredible opportunity there to shape that part of our fabulous city, let’s not mess that one up now shall we. ■

Love this


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Escape To The Country
Pet the animals, walk in the wilderness, pick your own berries and enjoy colonial accommodation... Farmstays and day tours are popping up across the state, providing a fun weekend away for visitors and Hobartians keen to get their gumboots dirty. Here are four farms to visit this Spring.
Exploring The World’s Widest Canyon – Capertee Valley
The Blue Mountains and surrounding areas suffered greatly during recent bushfires but slowly the National Parks in New South Wales are reopening, with some ready to welcome visitors back.
Talk Sexy To Me …
If I asked you to think of a food item that makes you sexy, healthy, attractive, youthful and energetic I can almost guarantee that you didn’t think of gelatin.
Madame Saisons: Corona Cuisine – Surviving Lockdown
The vacant stare in front of the open fridge or cupboard has afflicted us all on occasion. No matter how much food we have in store, there seems like nothing to eat. When you’re hungry and lacking cooking inspo, the ‘hangries’ can easily take hold.
Hannah Moloney
Meet the Tasmanian designing a better life for us all. Hannah Moloney of Good Life Permaculture is a leading landscape designer and educator in South Hobart (you may have noticed her bright pink and green house up on the hill). She’s spent 15 years designing and managing projects around urban agriculture, small-scale farming and community development. She believes in ‘radical hope’ and facing the climate crisis in a proactive and positive way.
Australia’s Online Beauty Queen – Kate Morris
Kate Morris had an idea to sell cosmetics online at a time when it wasn’t done. She borrowed $12,000 from her boyfriend’s parents and set up an online store, Adore Beauty in the garage. Twenty years later, the business is thriving, enjoying annual revenue around $100m. Kate recently sold a chunk of the business to private equity investors, Quadrant.
What’s With The Weather?
Even though Tasmania is known for its mild summers, it doesn’t take much to get sunburnt. Tasmania experiences extreme ultraviolet (UV) levels, but contrary to popular belief this isn’t due to the hole in the ozone layer, which is actually south of the continent.While higher UV levels often occur at the same time as higher temperatures, the two are not linked. Instead, UV levels are determined by the angle of the sun in the sky: the higher the sun, the higher the UV. In December and January, the position of the sun over Tasmania gives the state a UV index of 11 or more on most days, which is classified as “extreme” on the UV index. Tasmania’s lack of humidity and generally clear skies contribute to the stinging feeling of the sun. UV can reflect off buildings and water, making it possible to get a higher dose of UV from these reflected rays, even in the shade.
Transport Trackers – Your New Timewaster
It was almost 2am and US singer Halsey had just finished her set and was being whisked off stage at Falls Festival and into her waiting Tesla.
Cascades Female Factory Reopens
On a site where only the outside walls remain, how do you help visitors contextualise what happened inside those walls? At the Cascades Female Factory site in South Hobart, actor Karissa Lane, together with director Craig Lane-Irons and writer Finegan Kruckemeyer have created The Proud & The Punished, a 45-minute monologue to share the horrifying, heart-warming and sad stories of the women and babies, who went through the site from 1828 until 1856. At any given time there were between 700 and 1200 prisoners.
Day Of Impact 1967
Devastating bushfires on mainland Australia strikes vivid memories to those of us who lived through the 1967 bushfires in Southern Tasmania when 62 lives and 1293 homes were lost.
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
April 2021

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!