A multimedia walking tour celebrating the development of Melbourne’s Yarra River precinct since the 1980s will be launched by the Premier of Victoria at lunchtime today. Transforming the Yarra traces the story of the visionary work of architects, urban designers, planners and politicians in revitalising the Yarra River as a hub for recreation and culture.
Photograph by Tim Griffith
Architect Evan Walker became the state’s planning and environment minister in 1982. Another architect, David Yencken, was made head of the planning department. Together, they earned high regard as the visionary planners of the blueprint to realise the Yarra River waterfront’s potential.
Encouraging Melbourne’s confidence about the possibilities for urban change, Denton Corker Marshall’s innovative ideas for public spaces, plazas and promenades were a significant contribution to this vision.
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Undertaking a comprehensive urban design study for Walker and Yencken, the firm’s proposal to reinforce the Yarra as the prime edge and focus of the CBD constituted a definitive design statement for the riverbank. Denton Corker Marshall’s plan to formalise the river’s edge with a bluestone embankment influenced the river’s north bank being similarly ‘sharpened’, ahead of their own award-winning Southbank Promenade in 1988.
Director Ian White was a key member of the project’s design team. Ian speaks about the building in chapter 5 of the 25-minute Transforming the Yarra tour, which starts at Princes Bridge and traverses from Federation Square to Southbank Promenade across Sandridge Bridge and down to South Wharf.
Transforming the Yarra is being launched by Premier John Brumby at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on Tuesday 13 July. Commissioned by Major Projects Victoria, the multimedia tour was developed for the State of Design Festival. If you happen no to live in Melbourne, the tour is available as an iPhone app, and can be downloaded free from the iTunes store.