I have been interested in architecture ever since I was a young child. I drew up floor plans of my room and created corridors and smaller rooms on my own floorplan. I kept one of the first floorplans I did when I was seven years old. It was for a artist house that had a pottery kiln underneath.

I loved living in what can only be called as Brisbane’s first urban planned area, Inala. It was a poor suburb of Brisbane, and it had a notorious stigma that even today still conjures up memories of how good of a time I had there.

As I moved across Queensland, I noticed that people chose to live where they did by two means. They either grew up there, or they moved there from else where. But further from this, they sometimes didn’t have the opportunity to move elsewhere. This is where I got interested in town planning and decided to start it in 1992 at QUT.

I did fairly well at it, the theory that is, reading up on people like Christopher Alexander and Le Corbusier (architects), Jane Jacobs (not a Town Planner).

My great failing was that I felt that planning, is essentially social engineering, such as engineering is for buildings, some thought (I believe) that to be a dangerous thought to hold.

life lasts only a minute. compared to the universe, you are so small. Man is not that important. We have to be simpler. Don’t think you are important, because no one is. You just have to be more useful. That’s it. – Oscar Niemeyer.

Perhaps, I entered Town Planning as a naive person, expecting things to happen for me, instead life just kept plodding along, and I stopped studying and took up a job at Huson & Associates, as a personal assistant, where I computed third octave frequencies and created noise models in autocad to be used in ENM (Environmental Noise Model) to create noise dB maps. I really enjoyed the work, it was really useful.

Where do I go from here? I was thinking. In the time from where I currently work as a CTO, but, I’ve worked as a Architectural detailer, Bakers Laborer, Real Estate Consultant and chairman of an Art Gallery.

Design only comes from being conservatively radical.

But there are other things that create space within places, some have a sense of identity that makes them whole.

I believe this comes from an extension of us, from our viewpoint. After all we are the participants in the environment and this extends from us. If you go swimming in a pool and come to rest, your arms naturally fall into a position that is divided up into sections, your eye height forms a triangle that at each corner is your hands. Your arms upper and lower form towards your vision.

I call this the personal perspective. I have a feeling that this can be applied to the design of spaces and places to aid in developing a sacredness of spaces that allows an artificial connection to the environment, a external connection with place.

Walter Burley Griffin

If you hadn’t noticed, I put the brackets for sir in Walter’s name because really he does deserve that honour. Why you ask? he didn’t bring much to the architectural landscape in Australia did he? Well, to answer that question is a bit complex. In one way he did with the elephant in the room, Canberra the capital of Australia.

Walter and Marion Burley Griffin? Marion Mahoney & Walter Burley Griffin 🙂

The Griffiths saw Australia as a potential location to perfect American civic ideals and dreams. The newly formed federation of Australia’s states in American eyes was seen as a declaration of independence, but in Australia, it was based on imperialism and this degree of liberty was not received well. The ideals that were given towards the development of American governmental areas was the notions of grandeur and statehood, of nationalism and defiance of the old world. The levels of bureaucracy also lead to the jaded outlook on Australia’s willingness to let go of the system, crushing the Griffins belief in a new Australia.

When working with Frank Lloyd Wright, the perception of design was developed by mimicking the idea that the roof lines where low and horizontal, mirroring the prairielands. This idea, was translated by The Griffiths towards the idea of “Better design would matter in improving the quality of life” and that it was needed to have architecture makes itself visible. Marion adopted the Japanese style of drawing that included nature into the drawings which created atmosphere and a sense of place. In doing this it soften the appeal of the drawings rather than being architectural drawings. After winning the competition to develop Canberra through the use of 12 meter panel sections, they dove into the political landscape which was negative and bureaucratic as politicians and rival architects (whom then became advisors to the board) raised objections to the design.

Walter had said at the time ” You become one of three things, a parasite, a panderer or a recluse. An architect can’t be a recluse“.

The current thought was for man to dominate the landscape, by sculpting it, removing unwanted mountain tops to form its own capital. They had a tremendous relationships with the understanding of soil and habitats as well as of local plants and how to use them. They understood the Genus, the plants coloring and time of bloom. it was a high admiration of Australian nature.

The Griffins as a couple, developed “Castlecrag estate”, housing constructed using a knit-lock system that was Incidental to the landscape a natural community atmosphere that it felt like that it rose from the ashes. It was a rock bound woodland that offered a possibility of developing a community than the usual subdivision. Became a focal point of bauhinia lifestyle of the 1920’s. A  balance between life and work which was unheard of in that time and place.

Walter Burley Griffin master planned community 1932. Features Marion’s illustrations showing a typical front yard. Also features a floor plan

The organic nature of the master planned community featured walking paths in the back yards as well as roundabouts at the end of culdesacs.  This type of street pattern evolution was before the warped parallel street design of the 1960’s, loops and lollipops of the 1970s and the lollipops on a stick of the 1980’s as mentioned by Southworth.

Castlecraig flies in the face of the evolution of street design showing gradual adaptation of the car.

The Griffins wanted the capital and the projects they worked on to be fitting into the subtle nature of the landscape, as the landscape was the natural asset that Australia’s built environment where as from when they move to India they adopted the local vernacular.

MixC Shenyang

As Shenyang is one of the biggest economic developed centers in northwest China, it was important to integrate parts of the Shenyang Sustainable Cities Program. As part of the cities vision, it required policies to be put into place to increase housing densities with improved livability , organise housing to alleviate crowding and improving the quality of life (Sustainable Shenyang Project Office, 1998). A solution to overcrowding was modeled on the township village found in rural green belt. MixC Shenyang is seven levels of retail, office, residential and hotel designed as a multi-phased development over 20 acres (Lobo, 2014). It features an internal wintergarden which allows light to access within, and also becomes a unifying part of the development but is targeted towards the middle to upper incomes (RTKL, 2014).

Area: 510,967 m2

Phase 1: Retail & Entertainment (Cinema & Icerink), Office spaces
Phase 2: Residential apartments, office and meeting spaces,
Phase 3: Hotel & winter garden (Contends all HOPSCA elements)

MixC is located within the high density district of Yumin Cun where Planning has created a policy of ‘Urban Villages’ to cope with the rapid expansion of the area and to aid in community planning.



HOPSCA has been coined as “a city within a city”. HOPSCA is a form of mixed use planning born out of the China development boom of the 1990s. HOPSCA is an acronym for Hotels, Offices, Parks, Shopping, Convention centres and Apartments. The concept of HOPSCA is gaining recognition as a legitimate planning tool outside of China. It has been in use since the 1990s and favoured by architects and urban designers worldwide.

HOPSCA differs from Master Planning, TOD, traditional CBD (Central Business District) models, New Urbanism and Smart Growth in distinct ways. HOPSCA was driven by an identified market niche to co-locate specific uses: These uses are desirous to co-locate because of their compatibility.

The thesis proposes to consider how HOPSCA could be realized in South East Queensland under current legislation. Further the paper will discuss the desirability of creating a ‘city within a city’ and its relevance and application in the Australian context. The research for the thesis will be undertaken between July and October 2014 with delivery on or before 29th October 2014.

HOPSCA? What is it?

Land uses are assigned or designated within a zonal system of land use management that allows for an efficient and orderly arrangement of compatible land uses, delivery of infrastructure (like EC for Emerging Community zones in City Plan (Brisbane City Council, 2014b)) and provide an interestingly diverse urban fabric that changes with the evolution of a place according to its needs. Zones that are compatible with each other work best if they deliver safety and security but also have cultural benefits and contribute to and positive living day to day.

Mixed uses in built up areas has been a tradition which can be found as early as Ancient Greek and European medieval cities. HOPSCA elements in Judge magazine 1895
Historically mixed use enclaves were not established with a set of predetermined criteria as we would find in today’s litigious framework in Queensland. In fact, the omission of controls outside of Medieval guild interests (for example) is what helps to create richly organic and ancient centres.

Following on, the trend of urbanisation has been occurring since cities have been seen as attractive places for opportunity, work or leisure. Today, our planning mechanisms seek to ensure developmental changes encourage sustainable places.

HOPSCA is a modern rendition of mixed use development to create an economic hub for a specific purpose at a very large scale, a city scale. HOPSCA requires a minimum active total population of 15,000 persons based on literature reviewed. Therefore one can see that the surrounding city population mist be considerable to support a HOPSCA proposal.

HOPSCA (also known as Urban Complex) is described as ‘a city within a city’ and is an acronym for Hotel, Offices, Parks, Shopping malls, Convention and Apartments. In order for HOPSCA to work it needs to be at the city scale being considerably larger than a master planned community and is discussed further in 2.4 Characteristics of a HOPSCA.