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monotonehell
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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#16 Post by monotonehell » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:26 am

Wayno wrote:...
* Stone Upon Stone: A series looking at important medieval buildings in Europe.
Examined some pretty funky raw concrete buildings around london that have a minority cult following, but are generally disliked by the wider public...
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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#17 Post by SRW » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:31 am

Wayno wrote:There's 2 new weekly TV shows (The Perfect Home - 8:30pm ABC1, Stone Upon Stone - 9:15pm ABC1). Both are based in Europe and look into the subject of what buildings mean to humans and humanity.

* The Perfect Home: Alain de Botton tackles architecture, asking 'what makes the perfect home'?
The basic premise in last nights show was this ==> people choose architecture based on what's missing in their lives. It went into detail about why housing estates using architectural principles from past ages - the reason presumably being to link our modern rush-rush world with bygone simpler times. Next week is focused on colour in architecture, and the pyschological impact is has on people - even to the point of changing beliefs!

* Stone Upon Stone: A series looking at important medieval buildings in Europe.
Examined some pretty funky raw concrete buildings around london that have a minority cult following, but are generally disliked by the wider public

You can probably catch a repeat on ABC2 if you missed them last night.
I saw the de Botton series when it was first shown a couple years ago. Very worth watching.
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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#18 Post by Tyler_Durden » Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:21 pm

I too agree that that is a fantastic article.

It's a problem, though, that is deeply ingrained in Australian society and will take an awful lot to change. Australians just don't care. You only have to take a drive through Mawson Lakes to look at the rubbish that is dished up to us. I'm sorry if this offends anyone who lives there and it certainly isn't specific to Mawson Lakes. It is essentially a nationwide trend. But Mawson Lakes is new. It shows what the current generation of Adelaideans are building. And it's rubbish. I believe 'McMansion' is the term given.

The article states that quality architecturally designed homes being built in this country are world class. I'll take the author's word on that because, in this state at least, they are extremely rare to find. And there is no middle ground.

As for public buildings, people in this state complain when 5c is spent on anything that's not health or education. I can't see that ever changing to be honest. It's embarrassing how uncultured Australians are on the whole. Our standards pertaining to architecture are just one in a long line of indicators that show it.

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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#19 Post by monotonehell » Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:51 pm

Tyler_Durden wrote:It's a problem, though, that is deeply ingrained in Australian society and will take an awful lot to change. Australians just don't care. You only have to take a drive through Mawson Lakes to look at the rubbish that is dished up to us. I'm sorry if this offends anyone who lives there and it certainly isn't specific to Mawson Lakes. It is essentially a nationwide trend. But Mawson Lakes is new. It shows what the current generation of Adelaideans are building. And it's rubbish. I believe 'McMansion' is the term given.
McMawsons? I'm not impressed with most of Mawson Lakes's homes from an architectural point of view. A lot of it is just boxy nothings. Some of the urban planning is good though, like the medium density and public spaces. I think the reason why everyone is tucked up in bed by 10PM is because they are all wage slaves with huge mortgages and by the time they get home from work they are buggered.
Tyler_Durden wrote:The article states that quality architecturally designed homes being built in this country are world class. I'll take the author's word on that because, in this state at least, they are extremely rare to find. And there is no middle ground.
The key words there are "architecturally designed", anything that an architect is allowed to work on specifically is normally world class, but all the standard boxes are built from standard plans and not "designed".
Tyler_Durden wrote:As for public buildings, people in this state complain when 5c is spent on anything that's not health or education. I can't see that ever changing to be honest. It's embarrassing how uncultured Australians are on the whole. Our standards pertaining to architecture are just one in a long line of indicators that show it.
When things like health and education are up to standard I'm sure they'll quit complaining about it. There are priorities to things. First the health and well being of your population, then their education, then the trains need to run on time and other such infrastructure. Once all that's working at an acceptable level (of course it can always be better) then you can throw in the occasional grand work to keep the peasants feeling good. Right now people have legitimate gripes about health, education, and PT.

We don't have an infinite amount of money at the moment so we must fix those things now, plan for future public works now, and if/when the tax revenue from the mining boom rolls in we can build them.
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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#20 Post by urban » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:02 pm

Our top end architect designed detached housing is certainly the equal of any in the world. Our small projects also match up very well. Australian trained architects are highly sought by overseas companies. Projects designed in Australia for overseas locations are of high quality. So why can't we have high quality large projects here? Small projects and houses can shine because as the article says decision making is directly between the client and the architect so one enlightened person is all that is needed to allow a project to happen.

Council and govt processes are heavily weighed down by overly convoluted procurement processes. Our best council projects have happened where the council has taken a hands off approach.

For example a few years ago we started 2 very similar projects for the 1 council at the same time. The first was needed quickly so they gave us complete control while the 2nd went through their normal procedures. The 1st was twice the size of the 2nd but was completed in 1/6 the time for 90% of the cost of the 2nd and won a couple of architecture awards.

This characterises our dealings with councils.

Too much time and money is spent on developing and managing procurement processes and not enough on making sure a decent brief and properly calculated budget is provided to the architect. Let alone paying adequate fees to allow a decent amount of time to be spent DESIGNING the buildings.

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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#21 Post by Tyler_Durden » Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:56 pm

monotonehell wrote:
Tyler_Durden wrote:As for public buildings, people in this state complain when 5c is spent on anything that's not health or education. I can't see that ever changing to be honest. It's embarrassing how uncultured Australians are on the whole. Our standards pertaining to architecture are just one in a long line of indicators that show it.
When things like health and education are up to standard I'm sure they'll quit complaining about it. There are priorities to things. First the health and well being of your population, then their education, then the trains need to run on time and other such infrastructure. Once all that's working at an acceptable level (of course it can always be better) then you can throw in the occasional grand work to keep the peasants feeling good. Right now people have legitimate gripes about health, education, and PT.

We don't have an infinite amount of money at the moment so we must fix those things now, plan for future public works now, and if/when the tax revenue from the mining boom rolls in we can build them.
These things might seem like a waste of money to some but they encourage confidence, creativity, expression, thought and provide all sorts of intellectual benefits to a city/civilisation. I'm not just talking about architecture here. There are all sorts of artistic and cultural delights that enrich a population. And a populace that invests in cultural areas will reap the benefits financially and intellectually as they attract and promote creativity, entrpreneurism, tourism, higher living standards, etc. The flow on effect is an improved economy and lifestyle which will flow down to more money to spend on health and the essentials.

We can't neglect those essential services like health, etc, but equally we can't neglect areas such as arts, culture and entertainment. I believe we need to see these areas as being of equal importance and not secondary importance that we invest in if, and only if, we have a little left over at the end.

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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#22 Post by monotonehell » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:05 pm

Tyler_Durden wrote:These things might seem like a waste of money to some but they encourage confidence, creativity, expression, thought and provide all sorts of intellectual benefits to a city/civilisation. I'm not just talking about architecture here. There are all sorts of artistic and cultural delights that enrich a population. And a populace that invests in cultural areas will reap the benefits financially and intellectually as they attract and promote creativity, entrpreneurism, tourism, higher living standards, etc. The flow on effect is an improved economy and lifestyle which will flow down to more money to spend on health and the essentials.

We can't neglect those essential services like health, etc, but equally we can't neglect areas such as arts, culture and entertainment. I believe we need to see these areas as being of equal importance and not secondary importance that we invest in if, and only if, we have a little left over at the end.
It's not so much that it's seen as a waste of money, it's just a priority because those things are something that people see as short comings in their everyday life. I agree with your statement that the grand works do enrich a society. But when the budget is such that priorities need to be made, the more inspiring things tend to get put on the back burner. :(
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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#23 Post by Shuz » Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:05 pm

If I could rule the world...

Adelaide should take a note from Sydney & Melbourne relevant to architecture and building design.I am not implying to compare the two, as that would be a case of apples & oranges, but I am implying to learn from thier experience in lifting the standards expected to deliver much more promising designs to increase the cultural appeal of our city. Look what the Opera House and Harbor Bridge did for Sydney, as to what Federation Square and the MCG did for Melbourne. The international-quality, stunning skyscrapers lining Sydney's streets. The cosmopolitian, revitalised and sophisicated attire of Melbourne's laneways and old buildings.

To note a few examples of superior culturally defining designs being put forth in these places really puts Adelaide to shame.
Melbourne 2008 - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthrea ... 418&page=5 Sydney 2010 - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthrea ... 431&page=2

Everywhere I walk in the city, I can't help but feel a continued presence of 'same old, same old'. Even the new is old. Not to be a NIMBY, but many of the city's heritage buildings which are riddled with cultural appeal are overshadowed and oversought by lacklustre and meaningless design principles used in effect on neighboring buildings.

There are only 3 areas within the city which I feel any cultural presence comparable to European standards. North Terrace East, the SE corner of Victoria Square and the corner of Waymouth/Bentham streets.

The North Terrace East streetscape is the best example that we can learn from ourselves. The historical buildings fronting the street are pristine, grand and defining, but they were hidden from view by a very run-down streetscape marred by overgrown trees, poorly maintained gardens and turbulent footpaths, cracked at every angle... Its vast improvement, just by clearing the area and starting from square one, took into very serious consideration of how the place is to be utilised, restoring the buildings, improving public amenities and actually maintaining the locality continously. Its our perfect score that puts the rest to shame.

Just even showing my mother these photos, she thought that was in Europe...
ImageImage

The architectural statements made by the SA Water, Commonwealth Law Courts and St. Xaviers Cathedral buildings have vastly transformed what I would have considered a very derelict, desolate and depressing section of the city. It was by fortunate chance that the developers seized on an oppurtunity to introduce some cultural appeal to the area, and now brings hope for continuance elsewhere.

An excellent case of harmonisation and embracing of design is the Advertiser building and the historic building on the corner of Bentham Street. In recent years, this is one of the very rare examples of sophisticated cultural integration applied in building design seen in Adelaide.

Image

One only needs to take a look at this photo to see how it has complimented its neighbor, without compromising design and quality. Its low-scale size, fluent landscape and unique texture have merely enhanced its contribution to the area's cultural identity.

But cultural identity doesn't stop at building design. The streetscape plays a pivotal role. This is where the above two examples fails to make a worthwhile presence, for it fronts onto a street made for the car. The position the world is in now, on many different levels puts ourselves in a perfect position to capitalise on the oppurtunity to return the city to the people. Improving our streets to the standards of North Terrace will drawcard people to the city moreso. People will actually take pride, as I do, when they walk in an area of cultural appeal. That is a place, where architecture is expressed vigorously, fluently, and harmonisly, interacts to a street with vast public amenities, wide walkways, landscaping, benches, fountains, shelters and plazas.


There are many 'icons' that fail to live up to being an icon. We have a railway station, grand and beautiful, but is nothing more than an empty shell of convienience stores and a gambling haven. The Parliament House is lonesome, tired and weary.
The Festival Centre is a collection of paper napkins, and is as white as white elephants are. The Goverment House is barricaded, kept as a secret, so much that it seems as if they have some CIA base in there. The Hyatt, symbolic 80's architecture at its worst, so bad its good, unfortunately sitting in an area of inconvience, the same goes for the Convention Centre. The Botannical Observatory is nothing more than an abandoned UFO crashed headfirst into the ground. Oh and Victoria Square, the 'peoples' square, which everybody travels through, but never stays. Need I stress my point furthermore?

Adelaide is plagued by an occurence of inconvience, deniability, second-bests. It is not fair for a city, with so much to offer, settles for mediocrity. I look at photos of it in its 1920's glory. The culture was there, that rush, that granduer, and I look at Adelaide today, a conformed city to the tribulations of Americanism.

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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#24 Post by Joely » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:13 pm

I agree with pretty much every word of what you said Shuz! besides what you said about the architecture of the Hyatt. Yes it's 80's, but I think it's one of the best buildings in the city, true to its architectual period and I couldn't picture the city skyline from the Torrens without it. Perhaps this just my emotional attachment to this building though.

That said, I'm a lurker on skyscrapercity aswell as skyscraperlife forums, and I just cant help but be envious of most of Australia's capital cities (notably Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane (though Brissy will probably end up being my permanent home in the future)). There is so much daring architecture and visionary projects being proposed and built in these cities, some notable examples including the proposed Perth waterfront, Victoria Harbour in Melbourne and Vision Tower in Brisbane. I really hope it will be Adelaide's day soon. How much longer do we have to endure second-best? :(

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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#25 Post by monotonehell » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:23 pm

Ooooh Shuzy, that's some serious writing going on there. :) Given a once over for clarity it should be sent ... somewhere... I know not where as the Advertiser would reject it because it has a reading standard above a ten year old's. I agree pretty much with what you say. My first reaction was that you were a bit harsh on some of our buildings. BUT after reading it all, I see that you're very right all taken in a holistic context.

I wanted to start a name and shame thread, I think I may still do so, where we post a picture of a shocking building and critique it. Whether it be neglected and run down, poorly contextually situated or simply bad architecture.

Also I liked the perdy words what you wrote. ;)
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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#26 Post by Shuz » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:27 pm

[quote="Joely"]I agree with pretty much every word of what you said Shuz! besides what you said about the architecture of the Hyatt. Yes it's 80's, but I think it's one of the best buildings in the city, true to its architectual period and I couldn't picture the city skyline from the Torrens without it. Perhaps this just my emotional attachment to this building though.[quote]

It's so bad, I love it. I probably didn't make that very clear in my initial post.

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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#27 Post by Joely » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:33 pm

Shuz wrote:
Joely wrote:I agree with pretty much every word of what you said Shuz! besides what you said about the architecture of the Hyatt. Yes it's 80's, but I think it's one of the best buildings in the city, true to its architectual period and I couldn't picture the city skyline from the Torrens without it. Perhaps this just my emotional attachment to this building though.

It's so bad, I love it. I probably didn't make that very clear in my initial post.
Haha, yea having re-read your article it makes sense. I guess I feel the same way too :P
Shuz wrote:Adelaide is plagued by an occurence of inconvience, deniability, second-bests. It is not fair for a city, with so much to offer, settles for mediocrity. I look at photos of it in its 1920's glory. The culture was there, that rush, that granduer, and I look at Adelaide today, a conformed city to the tribulations of Americanism.
I love this paragraph, Shuz are you a professional writer? If not you should be.

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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#28 Post by Brando » Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:42 am

Well done Shuz. Your post was a good read and some valid points considered.

Keep up the good work mate.

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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#29 Post by cruel_world00 » Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:23 am

monotonehell wrote:
I wanted to start a name and shame thread, I think I may still do so, where we post a picture of a shocking building and critique it. Whether it be neglected and run down, poorly contextually situated or simply bad architecture.

I definitely think this is a good idea.

Pretty much all the buildings fronting on to pulteney and rundle st/rundle mall could be razed and you wouldn't see me shed a tear. I have to look at that ugly UniSA building with the commonwealth bank EVERY time I go into the city...it's horrible

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Re: Architecture in Australia: Food for Thought

#30 Post by Queen Anne » Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:55 pm

The Australian article was interesting and I too enjoyed your well written thoughts Shuz :)

I think the words in the Australian piece which said, 'Adelaide is dozing' are so interesting (and thank you to the OP for sharing it). Shuz, you mentioned looking at photos from the '20s and I immediately thought of those words, 'Adelaide is dozing'. To me, it brings to mind a 'sleeping giant' type image, rather than the tired little old man that some might see. There is no doubt that Adelaide has a history of class and innovation, and when we wake-up our city will be something to behold. This brings me to another point from the Australian article..if I remember right, it talked about how, in the eighties (I think) there was a turning point for the people of Melbourne. They began to demand more and their city has been developing in pretty positive ways since, with streets and lanes built for life and people, engaging design, etc.

It's so funny to me that the Australian article mentioned this idea of a 'tipping point'. At the moment, I'm reading that very book, The Tipping Point, and I am finding it fascinating. For those who aren't familiar with it, it's about social 'epidemics' and how they spread. How exactly did those changes in attitude in the people of Melbourne become the 'epidemic' that has resulted in Melbourne's renaissance? How can we do the same for our city?

I might get my thoughts together a bit more and start a thread on this subject. I am hopeful that it is indeed possible for change to happen. Joely, you asked, how much longer do we have to endure second best. What I am starting to wonder is what do we, the people, need to do to bring about change for ourselves? How do you go from a few concerned people to a change of culture? How do you convince people that those things they might see as unaffordable 'frills' might actually pay for themselves many times over (as Tyler_Durden outlined) through increased confidence and vigour and all the economic activity this seems to encourage in other cities?

Thanks, all, for this very interesting thread,
Caroline

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