Iconic or eyesore?

As Australia 108, Melbourne’s latest landmark tower is unveiled, the perennial debate about whether Melbourne ‘needs’ another icon reignites. But how much does it actually matter? Urban designers will tell you that it is how the building ‘hits the ground’ that is important. How does it contribute to the streetscape?

So often we see the sad sight of yet another mediocre building going up. We see city councils approving ordinary design and we see cities across the world looking uglier because of it. We see property developers rushing to get their building up, wanting to make a quick sale and profit, and not really caring or thinking about the aesthetics of the building.

Design blog, The Cool Hunter, has put together an interesting piece on the importance of architectural design in shaping our cities’ built form personalities, claiming that “the aesthetic of a building should be the Number One priority”. Read the Cool Hunter’s full article here.

Does a building have a responsibility to enhance the surrounding area or be mindful not to make it worse? Will the building still look great 10, 15 or 20 years from now? Will it become an iconic landmark and a beloved site, or will it become a dated gimmick?

This debate is not new, and it is certainly not limited to Australia. With its flat landform, and regular street grid, Toronto has a long history of using distinctive architecture to enhance the city’s legibility.

University of Toronto building, Toronto

Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto
Source: http://occasionaltoronto.blogspot.com.au
Toronto City Hall

Royal Ontario Museum

Sears Head Office

Brookfield Place

We say Melbourne needs more iconic buildings, but what do you think?


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