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Animation Research Ltd’s Ian Taylor spoke at Otago Medical Research Foundation’s Club Otago lunch in the Glenroy Auditorium yesterday afternoon, highlighting the vision outlined for the future of Dunedin’s harbour.
Mr Taylor said the plan was a New Zealand first, as never before had such a proposal been unveiled with so many "lined up" in support the ambitious project.
"All of the key players were lined up before this went out."
The blueprint design was prepared by Damien van Brandenburg, of Architecture Van Brandenburg, who "spent a year of his own time and money" on the plan because "he loves this city", Mr Taylor said.
The overwhelming support for the design, not only from the Otago Regional Council, Dunedin City Council, Otago University, Ngai Tahu and Port Otago, but also the public was indicative of a city that was invested in its future.
Since it was unveiled last week, Mr Taylor said more ideas had come forward to advance the plan.
"What if this? What if that? But I only have one ‘what if’ and that is ‘what if we did do this?’."
He asked "what if" a proposed marine research centre at the site was an internationally significant "centre of excellence" that studied the southern oceans and the impacts of climate change.
"What if . . . we face the real problems and become the world expert in how we save and how we deal to [climate change]?"
But for Mr Taylor, his biggest "what if" was an idea floated for the large cockleshell design at the forefront of the basin.
"For me, this one is the absolute boomer."
He asked "what if" it became the Ralph Hotere Cultural and Art Centre, at which there was an audible gasp from the audience.
"Actually, we wouldn’t call it that. We’d just call it the Ralph Hotere. Just like the Guggenheim, the Louvre — that’s the Ralph Hotere," Mr Taylor said.
He said the cockleshell centre’s design had been compared to the Sydney Opera House.
"No. In 40 years’ time people will look at buildings all around the world and say ‘Gee, that looks like the Ralph Hotere’."
Mr Taylor said the idea for a Ralph Hotere Centre had only come about since the proposal was unveiled.
While there was potential to tap into the new Government’s planned $1 billion regional development fund, Mr Taylor did not want to rely on the Government.
Instead, he wanted to tell the Government what was happening in Dunedin and it was welcome to "come have a look".
He asked everyone to put a brand and vision around it and take Dunedin into the future.
Mr Taylor received a standing ovation from the audience at the end of his speech.