Melbourne's Big Ferris Wheel about to open - Do you care?

"It's only one of three in the world and provides 360-degree views of Port Phillip Bay as far as Geelong.

Australia's only observational wheel at Melbourne's Waterfront City on the Docklands will be open and ready to ride next month."

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/10/27/1224955915134.html
source: theage.com.au

Looks like the big Ferris wheel in Melbourne is about to open, but to be honest, I'm not too excited. I think it's good for the skyline, but do you think it's a good addition to Melbourne? Will it be deserted in a few months?
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CommunityMan Oct 26, 2008
I'm not excited at all
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PureKrome Oct 26, 2008
I'm more than uninspired -> i'm upset and livid that our money is being spent for idiocratic, pathetic, eyesores. Besides how unaesthetic and massively ugly this thing is ... it's also a useful as tits on a bull.

Oh! i love the spin story that it will be a 'tourist trap' and suck in people to fork out (at least) AU$40 for a ride. i'm sorry, but stick a needle in my eye.

FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL :(
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CommunityMan Oct 26, 2008
Docklands is a huge failure - will it ever become popular?
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PureKrome Oct 26, 2008
i think the docklands has the potential for sure. Once some basic infrastructure takes off, that place will be a hip and happening joint.

but that ferris wheel .........
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AdamS Oct 28, 2008
Pure.Krome how can you say it's an ugly eyesore? I think it adds alot to the sklyline. Is there something BIG that would can suggest they put there instead that would not be an eyesore?

I also don't like the argument that you can't spend money better elsewhere. You can say that about anything. The point is they have to "try"...it might work, it might now work. I'm sure people said the same thing about the London Eye ;)
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PureKrome Oct 28, 2008
Ok - lets break this down.

Firstly, you've made 2 gross assumptions ... that Melbourne _needs_ something .. and this something has to be big/massive in size. Assuming your first assumption is valid, why does this 'something' have to be big? The greater the size, the larger the impact is in both "form" and "function". So, the function in this case must be a tourist trap. The rational is that you are trying to suck people into that part of melbourne, or even to melbourne in general. Now, I could probably see some weight in the argument that you are trying to boost the human traffic into the Docklands area .. so lets keep rolling with that.

Function -> Tick.
Form -> fail. Form is very personal, IMO. There are some easy 'form' check-lists in established areas. For example, the sci-fi form of this building doesn't not conform to the existing Edwardian form of the neighbouring structures. For me, the form of the Melbourne Eye is bland, boring, plain and completely out of touch. Near by structures highlight this. This is taken from the docklands official website (so take this with a grain of salt ... but it still gives you a nice idea) :-

Design Excellence (http://www.docklands.com.au/cs/Satellite?c=VPage&cid=1186035842210&pagename=VicUrban%2FLayout&site=Docklands)
<snip intro>
Successful design features include:
Large campus style buildings with open floor spaces and natural light. For example National Australia Bank and ANZ
Distinctive landmark towers. For example, Victoria Point, Dock 5 and T5
Contemporary low-rise buildings. For example, 370 Docklands Drive
Refurbished historically significant warehouses and goods sheds. For example, Central Pier
Stylish strata titled offices. For example, Aquavista
Small Office Home Office (SOHO) units. For example, Site One

Now u need to see images of these structures to understand how their form is both contemporary but also sympathetic to the environment. Ok .. try comparing the gold coast to docklands (without the Melbourne Eye). Docklands is more classy. Less cheesy and gaudy. Docklands is a great example of thinking about creating various structure types without trying to compromise on great design (eeks, that a very opinionated concept :P) for crap taste and cheep construction.

Now .. lets throw in this monstourous big car hubcap .. and for what? to get a few more peeps to the precinct? Pahleeese.

It's insulting.

The wheel is so out of touch with the surrounding structures that it completely destroys what has come before it, IMO. It is so grandeous that it's the epitome of declasse. It degrades the lovely, unique structures (like the NAB building, which has won numerous awards... eg: http://www.architecture.com.au/awards_search?option=showaward&entryno=20053011). I so fail to see how a gargantuan wheel can do anything BUT reduce the sophisticated ambiance which the docklands is trying to promote. For gawd sakes! it's a FERRIS WHEEL ... something u associate to circus carnivals ... which are definitely not sophisticated (please... circ de'soleil is NOT a circus carnival) .. so therefore it's out of touch with what the docklands is trying to promote.

It's an embarrassment and should not have been approved, IMO.
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AdamS Oct 28, 2008
Ok - so let's break your post down!

First, I have made no such assumption that Melbourne "needs" something. It's called progress, and I happen to think all great cities need change to become fresh and attractive. New York for example constantly evolves and tries out new things to keep itself fresh and inviting.

Second of all, it doesn't have to be big, but that's what we are talking about here...IT IS BIG. SO let's try and keep within the boundaries of the topic. Conversations have to have boundaries for them to be relevant, so I am keeping with the big theme. Otherwise I think making smoking illegal would make melbourne a better city....but again that's not what we are talking about. We are talking about the skyline and how you think it's an eyesore. Moving on.

Functionality is a no brainer, it moves, its fun = tick (as you said)

You also said that "Form" is very personal, so there's no point arguing that. The only thing we can do it create a poll of People who think it looks good VS People who thinks it looks bad. Again, moving on...

I think you have totally misinterpreted what the Eye is. It's not a cheesy circle. They haven't put a carnival around it. Take a look at the Melbourne Spire. It's an iconic part of Melbourne, looks pretty cheese-ball if you ask me, but somehow people know it's Melbourne and like it. My point is, don't be so quick to judge. In about 20 years you'll probably be telling your children about the good times on the Melbourne Eye.

BTW When the Eiffel Tower was first built, they hated it. Look at how much everyone loves it now.
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Jason Spencer Oct 28, 2008
I think it looks like a desperate act to get something tourists might find worthwhile spending some money on.

After London, Singapore and now us, it's like the entire world will be getting wheels - how is this unique. And once you've been up to the top of Eureka Tower, what will you see that's any different?

Are ferris wheels the monorail of the 2000's?
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PureKrome Oct 28, 2008
fully agree with you re: change and progress. If anything, a city MUST have that to stay alive IMO. so, yeah .. very valid point.

Now for the rest, I think the only thing we can agree with, is to disagree. I'm not an architect or city planner, so i'm unable to get technical/professional about wether it should go there or not. Personally though (and that's the weakness of my argument .. it's a personal thought) i see it not being unique anymore. The London Eye was the first massive wheel ... so I reserved my judgement until i saw that in the context of it's location. Effiel tower is the same -> it's unique so it has something special going for it. But just because something is unique doesn't mean it will succeed or fail. Just look at the Federation Square. That's caused/causing lots of controversy. (and i'm not suggesting it's good nor bad).

I suppose when something is unique, there should be some time to give it a chance (ala Effiel tower example). But we all know what the Wheel is and does. We also know how pathetic it is and what it does/doesn't offer. Just talk to people who have experienced the London Eye. Even more so .. can u compare the London Eye to the Effiel Tower or the Statue of Liberty or Leaning Tower or Pisa? They are tourist mecca's. But for some reason, they all offer something a wee bit unique and exciting .. where as the Eye prolly nothing ... maybe just a wide view of london.

... and we have the Eureka Tower to do that (nod to JVS) ... so what's the purpose of the Melbourne Eye?

I'd go digging around some of the decision makers (is that the Melb Council?) investment portfolio's and seeing if there's a connection .. cause that's the only excuse i can think up of, for why that failzilla of a doushe-steel-pile was put there.
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AdamS Oct 28, 2008
Don't forget a lot of people haven't been to London, or Singapore or anywhere else in the world, so for a lot of people in Australia, IT IS unique. I've travelled ALOT in my time and I've only seen the London Eye recently.

I wouldn't bring Fed Square into this, there's something i personally defend, as I love it and I think it has done wonders for the city of Melbourne. Perhaps another topic ?? ;) This was quite controversial when it opened.

Have you been on it before, or let alone been on the London Eye? You simply cannot compare these to Eureka Tower to the Eye. It's a totally different experience. Try comparing having a beer down at St Kilda baths when the sun is just going down TO having a beer watching TV. Two TOTALLY different experience, yet you are essentially doing the same thing...having a beer.(all my examples lead to beer).

Yes perhaps we should agree to disagree, but all i ask is to give it time. I think we should post again in 12 months time to see what you and the rest of Melbourne think of it.

AJ
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PureKrome Oct 28, 2008
True dat a lot of peeps haven't been outside of australia. But who's the target market? locals? aussies? i'd be interested in seeing how many aussies have been to Kakadu or Uluru if you're suggesting that it's targeting a more local market also. How many people go to Eureka Tower? I've been, but only because i took some foreigners there. I feel that people generally don't go siteseeing in their own backyard under normal circumstances.

Also, i feel that there's a lot to compare Eureka Tower to Melb Eye -> what are their core business models? what services do they both offer? to simply look at the physical structure and think that is what should be compared is short sighted. They both solely exist as a tourist trap. That's all. Simple.

But for the sake of research I think that your idea of giving it some time is great! Let us come back in 12 months time and then rekindle this thread. By then we can see how the precinct has lived, morphed and changed. We can see if it still an eyesore or an engineering marvel -- for it's all in the eye of the beholder.

edit: Eurika actually is more than tourist trap .. it's appartments and offices .. but we know we're referring to the top public viewing area, for this discussion :P
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AdamS Mar 01, 2009
Everyone involved in this thread should read this just posted on the age:

"ENGINEERS working on Melbourne's crippled $100 million Southern Star Observation Wheel have discovered the cracks that shut down the ride only 40 days after it opened were not caused by the state's blistering heatwave but rather a problem in the original design.

The initial finding was presented at a series of meetings held with stakeholders on the ill-fated 40-storey high observation wheel last month and potentially means the structure will have to be reinforced before it is safe to operate again."

Source: TheAge.com.au

http://business.theage.com.au/business/design-fault-to-keep-ailing-wheel-shut-20090301-8lh8.html

Was it actually safe in the first place? I have visions of a giant ferris wheel rolling through Melbourne CBD squashing everything in it's path!!

AJ
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CommunityMan Mar 02, 2009
Now that would be exciting and draw crowds to Docklands!
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AdamS Dec 14, 2009
Oh the poor poor wheel is almost completely torn down now...and after having driven past the wheel on the Bolte...I miss the look of it on the skyline!! Does anyone know how long before it is back up and running again?

AJ
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CommunityMan Dec 14, 2009
probably years...
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mikespit Dec 14, 2009
We went on this when it was open - it was a good experience - though not to be confused with your traditional Ferris wheel, you could hardly tell it was moving. But it was very entertaining, the kids loved it, and it is (or was) another great way to see the city. When it reopens, they really need to look at the pricing to make it more affordable for families. We went on a Saturday afternoon, and there was no queues, which you would have to put down to the pricing of tickets.
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MattyD Dec 15, 2009
It's a pretty big (& expensive disaster) that doesn't reflect on Melbourne too well. Copying London's wheel shows a lack of imagination and having to take it down so soon after it's construction is plain embarrassing!
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Moona Dec 15, 2009
Its the biggest waste of space ever. Glad I never invested in it
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lala81 Dec 16, 2009
The Melbourne Eye was the biggest balls up; from conception through to engineering and construction. No Deal.
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Jason Spencer Feb 28, 2010
Love it! The wheel envisioned as a giant energy generating windmill.

http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/02/16/defunct-ferris-wheel-envisioned-as-giant-energy-generating-windmill/
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AdamS Feb 21, 2011
Does anyone have any idea what's happening with the wheel? It's been out of commission for quite a while now and was wondering if it will ever come back?
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AdamS Aug 26, 2011
I'm looking out my window right now, and can see that the big wheel is well and truly on the way up again. Will it help the area? I think not.
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