I welcome Kieran’s insightful article, highlighting the absolute necessity for …

Comment on National Indigenous gallery: what should come first? by Sue Dugdale.

I welcome Kieran’s insightful article, highlighting the absolute necessity for proper cultural grounding (and I would add – hosting) to be established at the start of a significant cultural project such as this. This will provide the over-arching vision to guide the project to completion.
It is also worthwhile looking at the time-frame taken for this process with other great centres around the world. As well as the examples cited in this article, have a look at the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia, and the National Craft Museum in New Delhi.
The latter example is particularly relevant as it includes traditional craft from disparate peoples across India as well as celebrating contemporary work.
Speaking as an architect, I feel that architects can offer a lot to a project such as this, but the best result will come from a team of people representing the many aspects of the project, first and foremost the Arrente hosts.
For Steve Thorne I would say that the Australian Institute of Architect’s Competitions Policy (easily found via a Google Search) in its own words: “Sets out high level, in-principle criteria only. It is not a ‘how-to’ guide.”
It is a valuable policy that aims to get the best result for a project and all participants. While a design competition could contribute to this project at some stage, my view is that it is not an appopriate starting point.

Recent Comments by Sue Dugdale

Can public art policy deliver common sense?
Hi All, as an advocate for more good quality public art, and for a more informed public on the issues surrounding its procurement and enjoyment, I appreciate all the varied comments below.
Hal, drivers are not the only viewers of Dan Murphy’s great lizard on the Undoolya Road roundabout (looks like a perrentie to me), we also have cyclists, pedestrians, kids at the Líl Antz preschool and Casa Nostra customers. Don’t let drivers in vehicles set the benchmark for the quality of our public spaces.
We are lucky to have a lot of public art in Alice Springs and a lot of it is fabulous.
The Alice Springs News might like to run a competition for the best-liked piece, and this would double as an awareness campaign for all the good work we do have – I think Maya is right in that many people miss Pam and Pip’s lovely work at the airport, and how many people are aware of Ben Ward’s great light piece in Todd Street North that adds a lovely subtle and surprising element to the street at night?
Artists, keep up the good work

Centre operators win gold tourism awards
Congratulations on your award Laurelle! I would love to see a similar product created for the Alice Springs town environs, including the cultural stories underpinning the redevelopment of the north end of Todd Mall.
These stories were collated by Paul Carter and developed into a creative brief by Mike Gillam, and connect Alice Springs’ CBD to the landscape around the town.

Wearable warriors
Thanks for including so many images in your news story, I didn’t make it to the event but at least I’ve got to see a lot of the fabulous entries now. A special congratulations to Evie, Rose and Xenia for their gorgeous number, and love Ventrical (thanks Philomena!) and Black Fleur too. Keep up the good work Alice Springs.

Distinction of design reflecting a sense of place
I am hugely remiss in not acknowledging the work of urban designer and architect Steve Thorne of Design Urban when Kieran Finnane interviewed me for this article. Steve Thorne was our design team leader for the concept and sketch design stages of the project, and a valuable team member for ongoing stages. Steve’s broad knowledge and experience of urban design along with his open eyes and ears have served Alice Springs very well. My apologies Steve!
Steve has also produced analyses and reports on the Alice Springs CBD for the NT Government that provide valuable material for future planning. They include:
 Alice Springs Urban Design Audit, 2009.
 Alice Springs Central Activity District Built Form Guidelines, 2009.
 Alice Springs Central Activity District Parking Evaluation and Recommendations, 2009.
 Alice Springs Central Activity District Residential Capacity Study, 2010.
While I am acknowledging valuable contributions to the project in general, the team at CAT Projects were excellent project managers and the Asbuild team did a great job on site – importantly for us and the project, both CAT Projects and Asbuild were on-board with the design ambitions of the scheme. Consultants on board included Greenhill Engineers civil engineers, Geoff Miers for horticulture advice, Brian Blakeman Surveys, Hydroplan irrigation designers, NJA Consulting structural engineers, and MFY Traffic Consultants. And most importantly, NT Government kicked it off, Alice Springs Town Council took the plunge, and the Mall traders and the public put up with the process.

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