Designer’s $1.2 billion ‘echidna-like’ plan is drawing comment, but will it ever be built?

Perth-based building designer Shane O’Riley has spent five years working on an unsolicited vision for an international concert hall to be built as part of the Elizabeth Quay riverfront development. The radical design has drawn a range of comment from the public with some comparing it to a spiny fish and others to an echidna.

O’Riley released his designs yesterday, apparently as a means of showcasing his skills, highlighting what he believes is “a wasted opportunity” to do something with the landscape under current plans. “I knew there was a parcel of land earmarked for Elizabeth Quay before the public knew, and I researched the Indigenous heritage of the area,” he told the ABC. “The underlying brief was very simple. It needed to compete as an icon against concert halls and opera houses around the world, not just Sydney.”

The design is a metaphor for “what it feels like to be sculpturally inside music, without the experience of the sound,” says O’Riley. “The living embodiment is you being inside a musical instrument, a sculpture, something that is dynamic and inspirational”.

Criticising the planned $4 billion spend...