9th September, 2020.
The River Pavilion stands as a quiet, resolute reminder that the architecture of public shelter is of significant value to the urban ecosystem. Anchored to the landscape of Fairfield Park, the deeply nostalgic and enduring nature of the pavilion is secondary only to its profound functional success across the four decades it has stood sentinel as protectress of many. So why now, when the existence of these structures is becoming more and more valued, has the City of Yarra scheduled it for demolition?
By its very definition, gentrification is the process of improvement. A conformity to middle-class tastes through a process of polite refinement. It is a considered grasping of the existing zeitgeist alongside gentle respect for the past and a nod to future urban aspirations. In short, as our cities evolve and take on new needs, the choices we make to fit those needs must be in the interests of gentrifications intents. The River Pavilion is an important piece of our modern architectural heritage, carefully designed in the 1980’s by Carter Couch Architects to support the adjacent bluestone amphitheatre while maintaining public space and views to the river. It is being demolished against the advice of council’s own heritage advisor to make way for a large storage shed for the local canoe club (INCC).
The INCC is a much-loved local organisation who need & deserve better facilities but this is not a good solution. Recognising a sense of responsibility for the built environment of Melbourne Kennedy Nolan Architects has tried to convince Council to reconsider, going as far as providing and presenting a built solution that retains the Pavilion while providing necessary storage – with no success. City of Yarra have now granted themselves a planning permit to demolish.
The River Pavilion has been nominated to the Victorian Heritage Register. It is essential that council does not proceed with demolition while the current Heritage Victoria processes are underway.
This is a beautiful part of the river & it is easy to see what damage would be done by replacing a public lookout with a storage shed. Given the current Covid situation we will need sheltered outdoor public spaces more than ever.
Please help by signing the petition to Yarra City Council, showing your support for keeping this important building.
Images | Tom Ross