Is Docklands a dog?

Picture by Ozsoapbox

I like dogs so I’d say Docklands is more like a mangy, flea-bitten hyena. It’s ugly, it’s shrill and it’s very ill-mannered.

As a friend and I cycled down Latrobe Street and over the railway bridge a few Sundays ago, I thought for a moment I was entering one of those anonymous, soulless suburban business parks that abound in the US.

I’ve written recently on how successful Docklands is as a business park so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised to see so much banal architecture in one place – not every building, but there’re far too few that aren’t tinted glass boxes.

The residential areas exude the very worst of the Gold Coast, even down to the vulgar attempts to “stand out” from the crowd. They’re as flash as a hyena with a gold tooth. If there’s such a thing as a “Melbourne architectural style” that draws on subtlety, wit, intellect, culture and life in a cold climate, then it’s turned its nose up at Docklands.

This was my first daytime leisure visit to Docklands in a while and it shocked me. I seriously don’t know how I ever imagined that one of Melbourne’s competitive advantages is its high standard of architecture. How could Melbourne produce this generic tripe? Read the rest of this entry »


Ode to Melbourne

Since the Melbourne Urbanist is mostly about, er…Melbourne…I make no apologies for linking to this puff piece, Ode to Melbourne, by Melbourne-booster Lindsay Tanner. I think there’s some wisdom in his succinct explanation for why Docklands lacks vibrance – “these things sometimes seem to be determined by imperceptible and ethereal factors that no-one can plan for”.