In an address to ACT business people, world renowned architect, Larry Oltmanns explained how convention centres have contributed to the personality and economy of cities around the world.
Mr Oltmanns has produced a substantial and highly inventive body of work over the course of his distinguished 40-year career.
His projects have included the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Victoria Harbour; the Bangalore Convention Centre master plan including three hotels and a shopping centre; and he worked on design plans for both the Adelaide and Melbourne Convention Centre developments.
Based on his vast experience, Mr Oltmanns’ address focused on the growth of the new generation of convention centres and how they will impact on a city and its people. He also talked about the advantages and disadvantages of public and private project funding.
Canberra’s business community recently came together to call for government support for construction of a world-class convention centre, known as the Australia Forum. Fifty-four peak industry bodies, national institutions and research and learning organisations in the ACT all nominated the Australia Forum as their number one priority.
It has been estimated that the Australia Forum will generate up to $762 million in Gross State Product and 1,066 new jobs for the ACT.
“We are expecting the public sector cuts the new Federal Government has announced to impact heavily on the ACT. The Australia Forum will help to diversify our economy, create jobs and grow Canberra’s tourism and hospitality sectors,” Canberra Business Council CEO, Chris Faulks said.
“Last year, the Adelaide Convention Centre celebrated the $1 billion contribution it has made to the South Australian economy. The Australia Forum could generate a similar amount of revenue for the ACT.
“While the Australia Forum will clearly inject increased economic benefit to the city,” Robyn Hendry CEO of the Canberra Convention Bureau said, “there is also the opportunity, through conferencing, to showcase Canberra’s intellectual assets and to expand our business networks more than we are doing currently.”
Ms Hendry went on to say “I agree with Mr Oltmanns’ view that a new generation of convention centres are both “place making” for a destination and they perform the contemporary equivalent of the city square role in a global market, where the city can host professionals from around the world to exchange knowledge and ideas”.