The Taj-on-Swan has rights of its own

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion -

I AM very sad­dened by the fate of the Oswals’ home but what mat­ters most now is the well­be­ing of the build­ing.

I kindly ask the Press to give it the space it de­serves dur­ing this chal­leng­ing time.

The Taj-Ma­hal-on-Swan has been with us now for a decade and is em­bed­ded in our mul­ti­cul­tural and ar­chi­tec­tural cul­ture. It has be­come part of our heart, mind and soul.

What stands there now is the phys­i­cal sig­ni­fier of a grip­ping era in WA’s so­cial his­tory from land grab to stalled con­struc­tion, from or­ganic foun­da­tions to aris­ing arches.

The ir­rec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences of the fi­nan­cial an­tag­o­nists should not be ren­dered upon the in­no­cent build­ing.

Like all re­silient build­ings, The Taj has rights of its own.

Shal­low think­ing might re­gard the sal­vage of the build­ing for road base as com­mend­able in a world that plays with the fash­ion­able word “re­cy­cling”.

How­ever, em­bed­ded in that in­com­plete build­ing is pro­cesses and prod­ucts that can never be re­cy­cled.

They do not de­serve to be trashed, what­ever the eco­nomic, legal and po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions. As it stands, the build­ing rep­re­sents a huge in­vest­ment of land, money, nat­u­ral re­sources, de­sign skills, man­age­ment skills and trade labour.

De­mo­li­tion means that they have never had value. How de­mor­al­is­ing for those who have faith­fully con­trib­uted. De­mo­li­tion is by def­i­ni­tion a de­struc­tive oc­cu­pa­tion.

Adap­tive re-use of The Taj is the moral re­quire­ment here thus re­spect­ing the pre­vi­ous ma­te­rial and non-ma­te­rial in­put, thus ex­ploit­ing its fun­da­men­tal re­silience.

Sadly this idea has re­quired more tal­ent and in­tel­li­gence than has been avail­able in this par­tic­u­lar de­bate. Ian De­war, ar­chi­tect,


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