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Architects Redesign ‘Haphazard’ Hobart Showgrounds

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The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania has appointed national architecture award winners Partners Hill to design the pavilion as part of a $300 million transformation of the Hobart showgrounds.

Partners Hill will design the 12-hectare showground centrepiece which would double as an emergency centre with independent satellite communication, power and shelter for the greater region.

The need for a showground masterplan was due to “haphazard” development on the site at 2 Howard Road, Glenorchy over the years which led to financial problems for the society.

To fund the redevelopment the agricultural society sold part of showground to an institutional investor for $14.06 million in 2018, and received $1.5 million from the Tasmanian government.

The agricultural society said a 10 year redevelopment masterplan was needed to address the inefficient use of the space, changes in the modern market and the costly maintenance of unsuitable, ageing infrastructure.

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▲ Bunnings sits next to The Royal Hobart Show venue in a grassy flat surrounded by houses and hills.
▲ Bunnings sits next to The Royal Hobart Show venue, the first show held at the Elwick Showground was in 1904.

In previous site developments, $30 million was spent revamping the motor home park and commercial sites in 2015 and $4 million was spent on the pacing and greyhound facilities in 1980.

The new plans included a go-kart track, veterinary centre, domestic animal training, emergency services, go-kart track and temporary backpacker hostel.

The centrepiece for the redeveloped Hobart showgrounds will be the pavilion which act as an emergency centre and home to the Royal Hobart Wine Show and the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards.

RAST director and chair of the Society’s showground transition development panel Richard Dax said it was an important place in the region.

“There is no longer an emergency relief facility available in the event of a disaster, and the current bushfire crisis across Australia underscores the importance of this development for the community,” Dax said.

“Several architectural firms were invited to an expressions of interest process, and Partners Hill, led by Timothy Hill, was chosen by a panel including an expert architectural adviser whose own career spans the UK, Germany and Australia.

Hill said the Society’s transition development panel wanted the precinct to would become “a part of town”.

“The site allows a very comprehensive approach, since it is the size of several city blocks a contribution can be made on behalf of the wider community,” Hill said.

Partners Hill won the prestigious Robin Boyd Award for residential architecture and the Frederick Romberg award for multi-residential architecture at the 2019 national architecture awards.

Partners Hill previous work includes the State Library of Queensland, Santos Place and the Daylesford Longhouse.

The architects will now commence concept design, preparing several designs for The Royal Hobart Show grounds that will be shared and discussed with our stakeholders and the wider community.

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Article originally posted at: https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/architects-redesign-haphazard-hobart-showgrounds