If questioned by interstate clients on how long it takes him to get to work, Launceston architect Scott Curran proudly claims “it depends whether I have to stop at THE red traffic light or not!”
Tasmanian by birth and passion, Curran is the Group Director of national architect firm, ARTAS Architects. The beauty of Launceston as a conference destination he says is quite simply its “ease”.
“You can go to any city – they’re fast paced, full of neon-lights and busy people.
“Launceston provides an escape from this with its biggest advantage being accessibility.
“You can walk just about everywhere and take time to enjoy the quiet and relaxed nature of life, the parks and open spaces, and the beautiful facades of historic buildings.
“There’s also the fact that you can stop someone in the street – they’re usually not on their mobile phone and they probably still have time to give you directions – oh, and point out a good restaurant!”
Curran worked overseas in the early years of his career, but returned 20 years ago to raise a young family. He says there has never been a more exciting time to visit Launceston to witness architectural, design and cultural momentum. With the city spruiking new conference offerings, Curran says Launceston is a city that is realising its unique advantages and developing accordingly.
“People don’t just want to attend a conference anymore. They want to experience and interact with people, place and culture,” Scott said.
ARTAS Architects boasts developments such as the Peppers Silo project (four grain silos redevelopment into a hotel and opened in 2018) and the Mantra Charles Hotel (a former hospital redevelopment opened in 2010) among its recent major projects in Launceston. The Charles project went on to win best commercial development in the Property Council of Australia awards.
“Both projects are unique because good Tasmanian commercial developers have had the vision and passion to re-purpose existing infrastructure.
“Tasmanians tend to fly under the radar but there is a terrific commitment to quality design and not accepting that because we are regional we can’t create something magnificent.”
The University of Tasmania UTAS is planning to relocate its suburban campus at Newnham to the inner city suburb of Inveresk and Curran is convinced this project to build Launceston as a ‘university town’ will reinvigorate the city.
“If Launceston capitalises on this project then this city can truly reach its full potential,” he says.
You can tell from the enthusiasm in the architect’s voice that his home-town, once considered a tourism and development backwater, is on the cusp of something it’s not witnessed before. I dare not point out to Curran that he may be faced with more than ONE traffic light on his way to work in the future!