Straight is easy and convenient, takes no effort, what is missing is creativity.
Look at our buildings.
The straightness which seems to rule the council seems the reason why there is so little creativity in our architecture.
There are so many rules that it totally stifles creative endeavour.
Then look at the two roundabouts at either end of Vincent street, in relation to this. They are interesting to look at. They have greatly assisted and improved the flow of the traffic.
So what did we learn from that? We learned pretty smartly the lesson that when we design with a circular basis, or aspects thereof - which are curves - we improve everything a great deal.
The reason that we have all those square boxes in our architecture is that they are easily designed and built. No free flowing designs here.
But if only we knew how things would improve, if people could build what their creative minds came up with, we would be so much better off. We would be into an adventure.
A case in point. Somewhere on West street is a house which is built based on the shape of a spiral, where the end of the spiral, like a shell, is open to the north and through this opening a lot of sunlight is flowing into the building.
This part is facing north and it is the fact the wall is glass which brings the light inside.
Then when you are inside there is, at the very centre of the spiral, a tower with what I believe is a small room which gives the whole space a very special inspiring and creative feel.
This was designed by a young Ballarat architect.
I look around our rich cultural shire and wonder: what is this obsession with "the straight" and "the box" in our architecture?
No matter whether these boxes are created by lots or little money, the architecture in the main remains the same.
Some boxes are made of huge blocks of stone, stand in an empty paddock and scream "here I am, look at me", while others peek out from ornamental shrubbery and are painted pretty colours.
Then there are those boxes which are designed to look like the stuff which was designed in the past. It may have worked then but does it still work now?
There are some architects designing straw bale houses. Now here is a wonderful, soft and giving material. Taking a leaf from the book of straw, it bends and moves in the wind, is flexible and would lend itself to the most wonderful natural shapes. What do we get instead? Lumps in the landscape.
When I lived in San Francisco I was introduced to a new way of thinking.
The minister for architecture or housing in California was an architect. He and his team threw a curve ball into the universities and the community in general (and here is that word curve and roundness again). He designed a great idea.
People were allowed to build their own houses but had to live in them for seven years before they could sell it.
This brought the artist-builders out of the woodwork. As a result many great and creative houses were created. This stimulated a whole new generation of creative architects.
So, my advice, leave the artist-builders alone. Give them a chance and allow art to be a part of artitecture (sic) and create wonderful buildings great and small.
Free up the creativity of the artist's architectural ideas and see the world change.
Allow creativity free range and be liberated from the boring square and 90 degree corners which, like a prison, keeps us captive.
Some people have never experienced an organically shaped building.
I once met an architect who had made his house from car parts.
He went into a wrecker's yard and negotiated a deal with the bossman and took parts of cars and with them he built a modest house with car doors and wind down windows.
With that he brought some fresh air, not only into his house, but also into the boring building industry.
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