Not everything in Australia is "upside down". Sure, their Christmas is in the summer and they might have a BBQ to celebrate it, but in some ways, they're just like us Northern Hemisphere folks. Our fascination with bad architecture, for example, is equally obsessive.
Turns out, the Irish, Belgians, and Dutch aren't the only ones shaming their native buildings on Instagram. There's an account called Ugly Melbourne Houses doing precisely the same on the other end of the world.
Taste is universal. I know. But ironically, it's what allows this online project to make fun of the houses it wants to. Here are some of them!
More info: Instagram
Nicholas Reece, deputy lord mayor of Melbourne, thinks the city is actually Australia's most interesting settlement for architecture and design.
"Beginning with the good bones provided by the Hoddle Grid, Melbourne has added some amazing buildings over the decades," Reece wrote. "The city has also produced some brilliant home-grown local architects and has a distinctive design culture, without the overreliance on international 'starchitects' like Sydney."
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However, the deputy lord mayor thinks that Melbourne may have lost its touch in recent years. "[We have] too many towers that are nothing more than spreadsheets in the sky, delivering a profit for developers but leaving the city poorer because of bad design and low-quality materials."
"Too many buildings that are low-grade and bland when newly complete and destined to deteriorate into eyesores over time," Reece continued. "Tall towers that set out to be seen from afar but offer nothing to the pedestrians walking the streets of the city. Featureless glass boxes that could be in any city in the world, rather than a city with the character, style, and sophistication of Melbourne."
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He said the city started noticing its flaws and began drawing a line, saying it must do better. "BHP House on William Street and ICI House in East Melbourne are both over 50 years old. Yet they both still look elegant and modern. They are great examples of how good design holds up and continues to shine over time."
"Melbourne has long been famous for its beautiful shop fronts, especially along Collins and Bourke streets. We need to extend that experience to other quarters of the city," Reece explained.
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He believes that good design is even more critical now if Melbourne is to retain its reputation as a highly attractive and liveable city as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Reece is also happy that the challenges the city faces aren't too big to solve. At least not yet.
"Melbourne's planning processes are quicker and involve far less red tape compared to other big cities. This is an advantage we need to preserve. But we also need to acknowledge that we need to lift the general standard," he said. I wonder if he follows Ugly Melbourne Houses. Or the person running it...