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03 September 2012 @ 08:24 pm
Some things never change.  
In his 1960 book The Australian Ugliness, architect Robin Boyd wrote of the man-made landscape "No matter how one photographs it, draws it, looks at it, or describes it, it remains physically an awful mess. In any case negative, careless ugliness is not the worst thing. What really must concern us more is the positive, atrocious prettiness of bad design.

And it's not just individual objects or buildings that he talks about; he discusses artificial landscapes that contribute to urban ugliness by lacking any cohesiveness. Taken individually the design may be acceptable, but put a row of "individual" or "featurist" constructions together and you get a hodge-podge of jarring styles.

Never so noticeable as when you sit on the banks of the Brisbane River and look back, then forwards. Photo credit to Wikipedia.

The Story Bridge, opened in 1940, is well-designed and quite attractive imo. With that bridge at your back, you're then looking westwards along the Brisbane River towards the CBD; this is what you see, in rather close company:

Captain Cook bridge, 1972.

Goodwill Bridge, 2001

Victoria Bridge, 1969

Kurilpa Bridge, 2009. I'm not sure what they were aiming for there but I'm pretty certain they didn't quite succeed.

William Jolly Bridge, 1932.

I wonder if the engineers and designers ever stopped to consider how their creation would look in conjunction with the existing urban landscape.
Current Mood: confusedconfused
byslantedlight: Slanted poppy summerbyslantedlight on September 3rd, 2012 11:57 am (UTC)
I love Kurilpa Bridge - it looks like a mass of tallships clustered in a harbour!

But yeah - I suspect most architects are thinking of their own buildings only, though I know they're taught to try and make things fit in with the surrounding environment - or at least they are now...
miwahni: Aussie Aussie Aussiemiwahni on September 3rd, 2012 12:04 pm (UTC)
In the right setting Kurilpa Bridge would look amazing. But see what's lurking in the background? The stolid practicality of William Jolly Bridge. The juxtaposition really grates - Kurilpa Bridge is the ill-mannered toddler screaming for attention.
byslantedlight: Slanted poppy summerbyslantedlight on September 3rd, 2012 12:11 pm (UTC)
Lol - maybe I've just got so used to that kind of architectural juxtaposition that it seems normal. Actually I think I'd rather see something like Kurilpa overlaid on the other, than more bounding concrete styles... But then I suppose that's one reason architecture ends up so mashed around - everyone has different taste to start with...
miwahni: Boosh setting fire to hammersmiwahni on September 4th, 2012 09:47 am (UTC)
I think Kurilpa would look awesome if it wasn't competing with older traditional styles.
Have to say I loved Bangkok; walking down the street and finding western-style office blocks towering over eastern-style houses and shops. It is really something to see. And it just seemed to work; perhaps because of the differing cultures, I don't know.
And now I want to pull out all my old photos of the place! Maybe not tonight.