Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grey on Grey

University of Canterbury, Christchurch. Oct. 2008. Ajr
I was over at the University of Canterbury the other day visiting a friend and I took the opportunity to wander around the campus. In my 18 years in Christchurch I’ve only ever been to a few specific parts of the university. This time I intentionally lost myself, going up stairs, down lifts, into cafes, office blocks, lecture theatres, around gardens, past the pigeon coop (yes, the pigeon coop!), along the stream bed. And through it all, I couldn’t escape the fact that I found the place depressing. Admittedly it was a grey day but the architecture!! Also grey - an unending landscape of cold, austere, brutal grey. I’m sure, from an academic point of view, all that Brutalism, Modernism and Post Modernism has a deserving place in New Zealand’s architectural history but what a dreary place to work and study in. The only building I found slightly interesting was this one – and sadly, I can’t even remember its name - that punch of bright RED a visual joy in an otherwise sombre landscape.
All so stern and utilitarian - like visiting a little Eastern Bloc colony bobbing around in the South Pacific.

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