Roxanne Wilson, Lifestyle reporter, The Advertiser June 27, 2017 8:30pm


FROM concrete jungles to giant brown boxes, there are more than a few contenders up for the title of Adelaide’s ugliest building.

The questionable design of a 16-storey student accommodation under construction on Waymouth St, reported in yesterday’s The Advertiser, has got readers fired up about other ugly buildings across town.

They include numerous hospitals, the ABC building and even the Adelaide Festival Centre, which featured in UK newspaper The Telegraph’s list of the world’s ugliest earlier this month.

The ABC building in Collinswood.

But an industry professional suggests we shouldn’t be too quick to judge a book by its cover.

Mario Dreosti, the president of the SA Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, said while aesthetics are subjective, “good design is completely able to be quantified and assessed”.

It’s probably just as well that the Festival Centre Plaza is being rebuilt.

“I’d always think of a building far beyond its aesthetic facade,” he said.

“A building you may not personally relate to aesthetically may actually work really well and might give people great housing choices and great working environments — we should remember that as we assess and comment on architecture.”

The new Federal Court building in Victoria Square.

Mr Dreosti said he didn’t find the The Advertiser’s ugly building list surprising, “in terms of the way I anticipate some people might view those buildings”.

“There’s a few buildings in there that are early modern architecture and have some brutalist components that I actually think has some elegance,” he said.

The new student accommodation being built at 231/243 Waymouth St. Picture: Simon Cross

Brutalist architecture often has an exposed concrete exterior and is modular in style.

Mr Dreosti said recent success stories — including the striking South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute building on North Terrace and Adelaide Oval redevelopment — demonstrated building design and architectural outcomes in Adelaide was “in a very positive situation”.

Julia Farr Services centre building at Fullarton.
North Terrace House.

“We’ve seen some really quite significant demonstrations of good architecture, particularly on North Tce and around our oval precinct, and I think the community is starting to understand that architecture is not simply about aesthetic presentation but really importantly about the way buildings function and operate,” he said.

Source: Adelaide’s ugliest building — it’s a hard fought contest | Adelaide Now