Sunday, 6 January 2013

Modern Marvels

Have I ever mentioned Australian architecture and planning, those two breathtaking cornerstones of this mighty country's cultural landscape? A trip to Queanbeyan, the 'authentic' neighbour of the sterile pre-packaged excuse for a city that I live in, reminded me once again of the great
achievements made in each of the above fields.

I'd fogotten the genuine shock of the new I felt when I first set eyes on the courthouse they built in Queanbeyan in the seventies. Look at all that lovely concrete (who wants character when you could have good old grey, untreated, reinforced cement):
 Such an improvement on the fuddy duddy fustiness of the dreary old brick and decorative stucco council buildings across the road, which are, frankly, just trying too, too pathetically hard to be pleasing to the eye:
Thank heavens the Queanbeyan City Council understands the importance of being up-to-date and 'with it'. Just look at their street lights, while we're at it - I mean to say, how dashing are they? And really, why have a light when you can have a bold design statement that tells the world you aren't a city of stuck in the muds:

And the great thing is that, as well as being really get up and go and proactive and forward thinking, the good burghers of Queanbeyan do also respect old buildings:

They preserve them for posterity. They recognise the importance of history. As well as keeping that nice Day Spa place in the picture in almost pristine condition and ensuring that the neighbour they approved for construction rammed right up beside it didn't overshadow it, they also insisted the older place's corrugated iron roof be reflected in that attractive upper front facing on the new building. That is really sympathetic planning, you must admit.

In addition, decade after decade after decade the council steadfastly resisted the temptation to knock this lovely little two-storey verandahed place down, (while simultaneously equally steadfastly doing absolutely nothing to save it and building huge concrete boxes on its every side):

And now what can any of us do but stand back in awe and gasp with wonder at the solution they have at last come up with. In exchange for  restoring the facade, they're going to be exploding a monstrous carbuncle out the back of it. Could there possibly be a better approach to heritage, especially at a time when executives are so desperately in need of accommodation?

(And what treats are in store just around the corner for those lucky executives who do manage to secure a roof above their heads in the coming carbuncle):

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