You can watch Mat’s presentation here or read the transcript below.

My name is Mat Hinds. I’m a fully registered Tasmanian architect and principal of Taylor + Hinds Architects. My practice is internationally regarded. We have twice been nominated for the Royal Academy Dorfman award and the international Swiss architectural prize. My practice was identified by the Italian architectural media recently as one of the world’s leading architectural practices in cultural heritage. We have received Australia’s most prestigious awards in heritage for our work twice. This year we’ve been recognised as Architects of the Year by Vogue.

I am here today as I have provided professional support to Bence Mulcahy and Our Place as an objective professional witness to their efforts in exposing the ridiculous proposition for a stadium on the waterfront of this city. There is wide unease in the spheres of spatial practice in Tasmania about the proposition of a stadium, including a majority of my colleagues who are engineers, planners and other architects. But, Tasmania being what it is, it takes courage to vocalise a dissenting professional position. It is widely known that the Government and the public service have a long memory of professional views which do not accord with policy.

In part, I have entered this dialogue out of burgeoning frustration for the treatment that I have been witnessing of fellow colleagues whose efforts in exposing the appalling spatial reality of the stadium that have been considered and measured, and whose professional actions have been precise and courageous.

Based on the exact dimensions provided in Government sanctioned documentation, the stadium will be as a fact the same height or higher than the Grand Chancellor. A design does not need to be completed to appreciate the bulk and height required to facilitate an understanding of this impact. These images tell us categorically that the proposal of a stadium is a mathematical and spatial nonsense on the waterfront of Hobart.

On this precise question, the Premier has directly engaged in a campaign to mislead the people of Tasmania and denigrate the professionalism of this considered position. In seeking to counter the profound reality of the massing studies of the stadium produced by Shamus and his practice, the Premier said, and I quote:

Don’t be fooled by the blockers, as dodgy as some of their efforts may be. We’re still working on the designs for Mac Point. But here’s the real stadium outline from the waterfront. I’m proud to see every day Tasmania standing up and calling out this nonsense.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Premier’s last statement. This proposition is a total nonsense.

The image furnishing his Statement intentionally misrepresents the experiential reality of the mass of the stadium. This image is visualised with far more foreground, which seeks to hide the actual impacts of the stadium’s urban impacts and bulk, and by some incomprehensible magic promises to ephemerally float as a phlegm-coloured cloud.

But if we remove the artifice, the Government massing and the comparative massing produced by Our Place perfectly aligned, except that the Government massing shows no allowance for any structure to clear span the field.

As in the law, precedent is an important form of evidence in architectural process. We rely on it to tell spatial realities about the risks and promises of a proposition. Shamus is absolutely right to rely so heavily on this form of spatial evidence.

If we take Marvel Stadium, it tells us the following: it was constructed well outside the complex urban structure of a city on a benign site. Marvel relied on an enormous apron of open space for its construction and urban promise and an equivalent apron is not available at Macquarie Point.

Marvel cost $1 billion adjusted for inflation, but was so burdened by the ongoing exorbitant costs of maintaining a green because of the overshadowing of the stadium structure and the unevenness of the ground that the Victorian Government sold the stadium and its site freehold to the AFL prior to COVID for less than one fifth of its construction cost. The construction of a stadium on the Docklands site completely obliterated the market value of the land.

In a city with 10 times the population of Hobart and with existing public networks, infrastructure – the best in the world apparently – in 24 years, the Marvel Stadium has realised none of its promise for urban renewal. It is an urban dead zone.

Macquarie Point, on the other hand, has the broader civic prospects of any inner urban site in the country and these civic prospects are unequalled. Characteristically, a stadium is an internally focused structure. Its spatial purpose is to focus toward the centre rather than outward toward the periphery. By that spatial definition, a blind, massive amphitheatre is not typologically suited to a site with broad civic and landscape aspects and certainly not to the only inner-city site of its kind in the country.

The systems of the City of Hobart are not prepared for anything like the infrastructural scale of a stadium. Transport systems and city services circulation will need massive reconfiguration to facilitate the servicing for a stadium of the scale proposed. The Macquarie Point site is curtailed by a high heritage civic and ceremonial setting on reclaimed land with maritime infrastructure to the shoreward side. It is a knuckle of urban intensity where all these elements coalesce.

The proposition of a blind structure on this site is absolutely a question of the city’s urban spirit and economic life. Macquarie Point does not have a sufficient service urban apron to facilitate a structure of the scale proposed in Hobart. Stadiums are realmic structures; it’s not just the object of a stadium. Its service requirements will need to populate adjacent areas such as the Cenotaph mound and the broader Domain.

There has been absolutely no intelligent urban framework applied in the Government’s proposition for a stadium on this site. As Shamus has correctly and precisely highlighted, the site is too small to yield the promised communal and cultural functions as well as a 40-metre-high stadium of the required circumference. The stadium mass overshadows the entire site, and no one wants coffee in the shade and exposed to the southerly sea breeze.

On the muted question of procurement, the government will likely seek to pass AFL-imposed contract delay penalties directly through the Crown contract onto a Tier 1 head contractor, who will likely be from the mainland. This will increase the risk for the head contractor, which will manifest as a higher tender price in a less competitive field, paid for by the Tasmanian people. The economics are unjustifiable and will prejudice the Tasmanian people for generations, a fact already exposed by Jeff Kennett.

Applied as liquidated damages and likely in the exponential order of additional millions, these kinds of contract penalties have already been agreed to by the Premier in negotiations with the AFL. The risks are elevated in the current construction market. Construction delay is absolutely certain. An example of this can be drawn towards Victoria’s current infrastructure delay costs. It’s a major cost risk to pass onto the public purse in Tasmania.

The legacy will be a huge, unfenestrated mass on the waterfront of the city, with a cheaply detailed skin plastered in advertisements and AFL branding. No amount of dressing up will avoid it being lipstick on a pig, built as quickly and cheaply as possible.

The Cenotaph is arguably the most sacred ceremonial axis in the city, certainly nationally it is unparalleled in its landscape, power, and solemn feeling. The Cenotaph site was chosen because the mound is prominent and offers the last orientation of homeland sighted by the departing troops as they headed out into Storm Bay by boat to war. It is a ceremonial sightline of unparalleled significance, the oldest in the country.

The bulk of the proposed stadium promises to terminate the access of the Cenotaph, which is currently a 60-kilometre-long vista over South Arm and the Southern Ocean. The mass of the stadium will interrupt this sacred line of sight, which is one of the great ceremonial axes of any city in the country.

The Last Post on Anzac Day will be backlit by the lighting of advertisements in the AFL logo.

All I have laid before you in support of the clarifying work done by others shows unequivocally this proposal for a stadium on the waterfront is a proposition of unprecedented spatial devastation and breathtaking absurdity.

Thank you.