Instead of buildings of diversity, color and detail, the urban landscape now offers nothing but vast cliffs of gray concrete.
In Richmond, Melbourne, gray poles hang in the streets and stay put even when the clouds clear. New buildings are popping up, just like a few years ago. Ever since area height limits were revised, there has been a gold rush, using carved cubes of space to get as tall as possible. Victorian heritage is less affected than it once was. The building doesn’t really save, but you can keep the front few meters of the building.
But it’s still game after the Victorian era, considering it had three Edwardian stores a few months ago. Tiled insets, beveled glass and presto-tanned ceilings have been swept – as they are all over Melbourne – for concrete piles. If the planning laws were so adjusted, they would all be built late and the developer would get the floor. But that won’t happen, and Melbourne’s distinctive look will fade over the years.
Instead of buildings of change, colors and details, gray is happening. Vast walls and cliffs, everywhere you look. Once despised as a hallmark of the economically bankrupt Eastern Block, architecture — depressing, featureless, and clumsily constructed — is now peculiar to our cities. is it?
Melbourne’s architecture is 50 shades of gray
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