Answer given on or about Sunday.
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They both have an ugly user interface?
The High Court building (aka the Gar Mahal) was what originally shaped my view that the occasional architect should be taken out and shot pour encourager les autres. It’s brutal in the English, not French, sense of the word.
Thanks DD, you’re very close.
I had in mind that both were exquisite examples of the worst of all worlds.
I was in VicRoads on Friday as I needed to attend a photo-taking. Simply supplying a photo that is obviously an update of the previous photo will never do. So you have to go in. In any event, as you can see they’ve upgraded the way they display the order in which they’ll serve you into a very fancy ‘digital’ one. Of course digital always works better and gives you more options, information yada yada. In this case the system they use so codes the numbers that you’ve got no idea when your number will come up. So in contrast with Dominoes pizza, who’ve discovered that if you show people where they are in the queue to get their pizzas made they take more interest in the process and end up happier, more cooperative little campers, the scrambling of the numbers actively prevents you knowing the slightest thing about what’s going on, including when your number is coming up. So those of us who would like to know when our number is coming up, go to the counter and ask. When I did that, they said they didn’t know when my number would come up. So they took me to a person at another counter who just put me through the process.
In the case of the Gar Mahal, the style is what I call ‘Neo-Aztec’ but was a kind of hyper-functionalism. Formalism is the idea that you let the form of the design follow its function – you create beauty out of practicality and so kill two birds – or more – with one stone. It’s practical, no more complex or expensive than necessary, but somehow all according to an aesthetic in which such an approach has its own kind of beauty. In the case of the hyper-functionalism of Neo-Aztec the whole process is turned on its head. The need to look functionalist dictates that the functional design contains various arbitrary features designed to demonstrate the arbitrariness of the form. The design is saying “the two boxes just stuck on the roof” is so arbitrary that it must be governed by the function of floor plan of the building.
Only it’s obvious that this was completely unnecessary. Indeed, as I understand being told at the time, the boxes were impractically located, leaky, too hot in summer and cold in winter and so, unpleasant to use. So those boxes added to the expense of the building were dysfunctional. And they were ugly. Quite the trifecta.
I also heard a story of Bob Menzies being driven through O’Connor in Canberra. Looking at the government houses as he drove by he asked the advisor with him “Who is the government architect and can we sack him”, or words to that effect.
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