AUSTRALIA’S most influential architect has slammed racist comments that have appeared in the lead-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, saying they have a negative impact on everyone.
Key points:Architectural symbol: the Australian flagThe Commonwealth Games will feature Australian-designed venues and facilitiesKey pointsArchitect Kevin Wainwright, who is one of the architects on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, says racism is not acceptableArchitects are concerned by comments that say “Australia is not a white nation”Architecturally, Sydney Harbour is white, while the other bridges are white.
The Sydney Harbour bridge and the Commonwealth Games venue are both white, and Mr Wainwrights design team has said the comments have been “a real distraction”.
“The comments about race in Australia have been a real distraction from the message we are trying to convey,” he told ABC News on Friday.
“The messages that we are sending to our community and to the world are very clear.
It is not only white people who should be encouraged to be proud of who they are.”‘
A bit sad’The comments come just months after the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on a white Australian architect’s decision to refuse to use a Sydney Harbour flag to represent Australia at the Games.
The ABC report revealed the architect, who has since apologised for his remarks, said the flag symbolised the “diversity” of the country.
“I’ve made it clear that the Australian Government is not going to use the flag to promote Australia, or to promote its values or to endorse the values of the community,” he said.
“There are people in this community that feel it is a bit sad and that there is a need to make the changes that are needed.”‘
This is just a sign of how far we have to go’The architect, whose name was not disclosed, told the ABC he had spoken to a number of people about the remarks.
“It was a bit of a shock,” he recalled.
“They’re just looking for an excuse to say things and that’s fine, but the fact that this is just something that has come to light at the moment, it’s just a bit kind of sad that it has come out.”
The ABC reported the comments, made by a man who identified himself as Mr Wannows, were made to a Sydney-based business owner who asked for a “handwritten apology” after he said the word “Australia” on the flag.’
I think there is room for some kind of change’Architecture Sydney said in a statement the comments “did not represent the views of our staff or of our clients”.
“As a whole, we believe that Australia is a multicultural country and we welcome people of different races and cultures to come together to make Sydney a better place for everyone,” it said.
It said Mr Wainerwright was “a member of our Architectural Heritage Board” and was “deeply involved in the development of our iconic Sydney Harbour and will continue to work with the NSW Government and the NSW and Australian Government to ensure that the Sydney-Melbourne Highway continues to be a beautiful and vibrant landmark for years to come”.
“This is simply a sign that there can be room for changes,” the statement said.
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