Shedism, Perth architectural style

There have been questions about whether Perth , modern Perth has its own architectural style. Perth architectural theory is architects blaming the clients for forcing them to build crap buildings. (And if you want to see what’s wrong with Perth’s architectural future, have a look at the excuse jockeys and complainers here. I’m thinking some of these guys will have the bad luck to have crap clients for their entire careers.) But we do have a big scene style developing. Shedism. Stripped of its Derridarian facade and Lacanian gyprock , it means building shitty giant sheds at great expense in the wrong place. It started with The Convention Centre. The reason for its crapness was, can you guess? Correct. Dud clients. What were they to do but build a dud building? Now the next generation is Perth Arena. What anyone was thinking with this ultra expensive eyesore engineered to look cheap is beyond comprehension, although I’m wagering a terrible client forced the architects to draw this turd up. Multiplying budgets, cock ups by several governments, almost everyone can be blamed. But when Sydney had those problems, it got the Opera House. Not an expensive shed made to look cheap and crappy. And these are the best sides. As long as they don’t decide to clad bits of it in half arsed Fed Square naff shapes. That could never happen. Nobody could get a client that bad could they?

About The Lazy Aussie

Commended Haiku writer. A lover of The West's Worst. Perth stand-up comedian, photographer and writer.
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201 Responses to Shedism, Perth architectural style

  1. BRIK says:

    Is it just me, or does it look like its rusted in the second picture?

    Like

  2. Russell Wolfe's Lovechild says:

    World’s largest corrugated iron Buckeridge Box?

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  3. …’terrible clients’ being code for reptilians, right?

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  4. Bento says:

    It’s what they thought The Future would look like in 2004. Dated before it’s even finished.

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  5. The Perth Arena is just not the kind of architectural vibrancy that befits a Beta – city.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_World_City
    I would have thought that something akin to the Guangzhou opera house would have been more suitable.

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  6. The Legend 101 says:

    Thats some very wierd stadium they have there.

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  7. Perth Arena, BHP Tower. World class shite.

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  8. skink says:

    a friend of mine once had a magnificent cockatoo cage made from found materials: old rusted corrugated iron, driftwood, chicken wire, pressed tin, old road signs. It was a work of art. The Arena reminds me of that cocky cage, but without its sensitivity to materials and its lightness and space. This structure should, however, be similarly shat on from a great height.

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  9. Bento says:

    The pejorative names for landmarks and such are usually excruciatingly lame (Bumpkobahn being the exception), but this really does look like a squashed tinnie.

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  10. capwatch says:

    That’s on Wellington St amiright?

    Dear god …

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  11. Mike says:

    WAAYYYY to harsh on Fed Square. As a Melbournian I too was horrified about fed square when it was being constructed, but it looks good now and is a significant gathering place in Melbourne. Perth has nothing like it and the comparison is unfair on Melbourne! Perth might actually be a liveable city if it had things like Fed Square. (and don’t, please, suggest that the PCC is a substitute).

    This building looks ok IMO and I am only saying that because of my growing to like Fed Square. Still, I don’t know what it actually contributes to Perth architecture (for which the main problem seems to lie in demolishing everything all the time).

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    • beeza says:

      Hey Mike, the designers of the Arena are Ashton Raggatt Mcdougall – from Melbourne as it turns out!!! They blow and should keep their space junk in Melbourne where it belongs!

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      • And my theory is that they did a half arsed embarrassment as a joke on the western yokels. Give ’em some colours and shapes from 2004 and see how much we can shake them for. There would have been a lot of deserved snickering at perth rurotards when it was accepted.
        The whole thing, is a specific joke at perth’s expense, ala bankwest logo et al.

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  12. Rolly says:

    They’re all trying far too hard to come up with something different, just like everyone else.
    So they all imitate everyone else to be different, but fashionable.
    I live a small block of flats build by this entrepreneur and, I can assure you, little though was wasted on the requirements of the intended user, and none at all on aesthetics.
    All along same thing military barracks.

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  13. Snuff says:

    You nailed it four years ago, TLA, yet still they persist. Even if it were the only other option, and even if it is “built on a whole mass of cheap undervalued, underpaid labour”, I’d still take Dubai over that, every time.

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  14. orbea says:

    Its Perth, its shit, and we’ll bulldoze it in thirty years, and a new reptile will contract for it.
    A metal shed with mould riddled sound absorbtion gaffa taped on sounds EXACTLY like rehearsal room in Pert.

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  15. Hoppo says:

    Utterly fugly. Like someone tried to copy Daniel Libeskind and nailed the ‘crazy angles’ part, but totally overlooked the ‘being a good architect’ part.

    And handily placed right next to the freeway to assault as many retinas as possible.

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  16. Nonsense. Besides the fact it will probably end up as a pretty good building in the end (and won’t look much like a shed by then), I would be interested to see how many of the detractors who label this as ‘bad architecture’ have ever bothered to engage an architect to produce them something ‘good’. Perth doesn’t support its architecture scene but sure loves to bag out anybody trying something different (different to anything else in Perth, at least, if you truly believe it resembles Fed Square). So if you want a more aesthetically built perth, then stop buying project homes and start engaging clever Perth architects, and you will get the built environment you want.

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    • orbea says:

      welcome looser

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    • skink says:

      actually, yes, I have.

      I have also, back in the day, worked with Rogers, Alsop, Hadid, Grimshaw. So, with some small authority, I am confident in saying that the Arena is a rusting disjointed pile of shite.

      I said good day, sir.

      Like

    • Bento says:

      So, you’re saying the problem is crap clients?

      Like

      • Not in the way you glibly infer, but my job as an architect isn’t to tell you what you’re going to get, it’s to coax out of you, the OWNER of the building, the one who is paying for it, the one who will use it and profit from it, the realisations, the enthusiasm, the vision that will allow you to pay me to do my job, and do it well. What doesn’t work is an architect designing something amazing that could be the most incredible building a city has seen and handing it to a client who doesn’t buy into it…cos then it gets put in a draw and never gets built. And the crap response that after all is said and done the architect’s name goes on it and not the client’s is rubbish – you know who paid for the Guggenhiem, you know who paid for the Sydney Opera House. The best architecture always is, always will be collaborative, and a city that wants ANOTHER football stadium before it wants a dedicated modern art museum, opera house or equitable density and demolishes anything that can’t be labelled ‘federation’, well, it gets what it deserves.

        So yes, ‘crap clients’.

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        • orbea says:

          A lottery paid for the Opera House, a bunch of innumerate loosers.
          We NEED another footy stadium especially if its in the wrong spot, thats what Pert is all about, fuck the architect and build to price, let the builder deliberately fuck up the project management scheduling and cream the excess like a goanna feasting on a misdirected japanese wikkid campervan driver
          We dig holes here in WA, a lot, they’re groovy

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        • No, no and NO. Again, this is what seems to be wrong here in Perth, the point of the architect is to do something good in spite of how moronic, unimaginative or tightarsed the owner is. Otherwise, as I say, let the builder design it.

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          • orbea says:

            So you’re saying architects in Perth are soft cocks who at first sign of resistence go belly up and deliver pap? How do they sleep at night?

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          • This argument doesn’t make any sense. Doctors’ patients self-medicate, lawyers’ clients go and represent themselves in court, the police tell you to wear a seatbelt and stop driving so damn fast. Just because the person you engage knows more than you, is better educated on the problems and concerns, has more experience and has the talent to produce something great, you can not tell another person what to do if they don’t want to do it.

            Imagine you come to me to design a building for you and you tell me what you want from it, the rooms, the expereinces, the attitude…and then I tell you you have it wrong and leave it to me and sign over a cheque right now, cos I can do it better and you don’t get to have input. The other end of that scale is just as stupid, where a client tells the architect what the want and they ignore the architect’s advice. The reality is the middle ground and the architect’s role is to wrangle as much beauty and workability out of the relationship. The nightmare is handing it off to a builder who can’t design & who doesn’t give a damn for anything besides the profit…drive down the freeway some time and take a look at the nightmare become real.

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            • skink says:

              I once overheard a conversation between two local architects where they were moaning that their client didn’t understand their ‘vision’ for the project because he was reluctant to pay for titanium cladding.

              the ‘vision’ that they were referring to was no doubt because they had ‘seen’ the Guggenheim.

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        • Bartender's Skills with a Manhatten says:

          Limiting myself only to American examples I have some knowledge of:

          Harvard rewrote the brief for the Carpenter Center numerous times and practically drove Corb to despair. It’s still one of his greatest works.

          The New York Guggenheim looks very little like Wright’s original plan. It’s withour peer in its period IMO.

          Chicago’s Monadnock Building’s original designs were repeatedly rejected by Peter Brooks as too ornate: the result, put up without a single ornament, is widely considered one of the greatest buildings of the 19th century.

          Granted Harvard’s President, Solomon Guggenheim and Peter Brooks were cultured men in their own right, but these, of course, can be the most demanding and impossible of clients.

          Your argument does not convince me.

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          • I’m pretty sure all those examples bolster my argument. From rigorous collaboration with an educated and enthused client comes great work. If Perthites were educated and enthused about good architecture and urban design, then architects, politicians and developers would have to impress a populace that knows what it is dealing with.

            It’s all well and good for a minority of concerned citizens, fringe groups, or ranters like us, to debate and argue, but the community at large ‘doesn’t know architecture but it knows what it likes’, or just kicks against anything new and different. Art, design, architecture just aren’t a priority for most in this town/country, and until the majority take an EDUCATED interest in what is being constructed around them, be it planning, landmarks, residential estates, waterfronts and the options/examples/studies/built works/whatever that relate to what we can do and how we might achieve it, then it’s just a bunch of us in-fighting and a bunch of ‘others’ scared of things won’t even bother to investigate.

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  17. Rolly says:

    I suppose that the apologists for this style of architectural monstrosity will always have some way of excusing their total lack of aesthetic sensibility.
    That their designs almost always ignore efficiency and function can only be blamed on grandiose ignorance.
    I walked away from architectural school after only 3 semesters when it became increasingly apparent that the syllabus was more about smart-arsery than about creating functional buildings in which their intended function could be carried out without having to traverse miles of purposeless corridors, and perform multitudinous changes of altitude to no logical purpose.
    Sorry, designinperth, but you confuse effective and aesthetic architecture with a crap, sculptural kind of ego augmentation.
    ‘T was ever thus: Flashy ostentation for its own sake.
    Demolishing the pretentiousness of the past with “imposing” modernistic edifices merely to fulfill the same self serving boastings of the rich and powerful, is very much the nature of the “vibrancy” of Perth.
    God forbid that the built environment should serve the needs of the general community.

    Like

    • Besides the fact that the look of it is completely subjective, to claim that it doesn’t function is probably a bit cart before horse. And efficiency with function is another beast altogether, and you will probably be able to find plenty of examples of that kind of architecture which plenty of people will hate just as much. So effectiveness here is unable to be judged yet, and aesthetics are for everyone to judge. I’m sure you can find someone who can cram all a them seats into a box with a slidey roof and it would function with the maximum efficiency, but then that wouldn’t be very interesting at all. I will take effort in architecture (be it ARM’s smart-arsery, Kerry Hill’s austere luxuriousness or Howlett & Bailey’s sexy-as-fuck modernism) with results ‘good’ or ‘bad’ over beige blandness any day.

      Like

      • Rolly says:

        “…….cram all a them seats into a box with a slidey roof and it would function with the maximum efficiency, but then that wouldn’t be very interesting at all…….”
        That is the ultimate admission of inadequacy.
        If you are unable to successfully combine form, function and aesthetic, then you are in the wrong line of work; which, incidentally, I believe that many who style themselves ‘architects’ actually are.
        Whoopy-doo sculpture is more their forte.
        Perhaps they could make their income doing something useful as well.

        Like

        • vegan says:

          rolly, i think you need to reread that post, after a bex and a good lie down.

          Like

          • Rolly says:

            I read that post carefully a couple of times, and it still seems crass and self excusing.
            IMNSHO, the majority of architects, builders, and especially clients over supplied with more money than sense, are full of shit and self opinion.
            Most of my opinion is based on the product, not the “vision”.
            Too little of it ever reaches the standards of function, form and aesthetic that I would expect of the vast amounts of money that ultimately comes from the pockets (by all kinds of devious means) of the poor, deceived, common punter.
            Whether the ordinary citizen actually deserves better treatment, is a moot point;
            but that is not a justification for the perverse morals of an industry – and it is an industry, however fragmented – which plonks these abominations where they can be abhorred by all and sundry.
            Good word that, plonks, considering the nature of the plonkers who infest this
            field.

            Like

            • Rolly says:

              I assumed, vegan that you were referring to the post by designinperth, as you left yours a bit ambiguous.
              If it was my own post that you were referring to, stet

              Like

            • Bartender's Skills with a Manhatten says:

              Is Saarinen’s TWA Terminal whoop-de-do sculpture?

              What about Wright’s Guggenheim (won’t fight you for Gehry’s)?

              How about the Sydney Opera House?

              Like

      • skink says:

        I have it on very good authority from cxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

        Like

  18. Rolly says:

    …….”and the architect’s role is to wrangle as much beauty and workability out of the relationship.”

    Oh! How I wish that were true.
    In this context ‘architectural beauty and workability’ is the ultimate oxymoron.
    Mind you, that’s as good a line of refined bullshit as I’ve heard in many a decade.

    Like

  19. skink says:

    I think what we really need to see is a Lewis Black Root of all Evil style face-off over which building is more shite – the Old Entertainment Centre or the New One.

    Like

  20. phreestyle says:

    I hate to come across as a supporter, but it is actually good to see something that is not a glass and chrome rectangle. Although those coloured panels on the freeway side do already look pretty outdated. I personally think they should have kept the ent cent in that space too, as its curviness would have been a nice juxtaposition to the angularity of the sports arena.

    And, I say this as someone who walks past this everyday on my way to work.

    Like

    • Well yes, but I suppose the most disappointing thing is that on one of the few times there is a licence to not make a glass shoebox, the result is so bad and cringeingly dated in effect. It’s almost worse this way.

      Like

  21. phreestyle says:

    Of course, I do collect retro kitsch, so my opinion probably shouldn’t count.

    Like

    • Rolly says:

      On the contrary, what you do in your own, private, world is valid for you and no-one else’s concern.
      However, foisting appallingly bad taste – theirs, not yours – on the general public is another matter entirely.

      Like

  22. BrownBook says:

    Well I like it (the proposed finished product).

    Like

  23. Bartender's Skills with a Manhatten says:

    An ongoing critique of the above building seems to be that it already looks “dated.” But what these days doesn’t look dated? Past the last ten years of “sculptural forms” a la Bilbao and the Denver Art Museum, Architects seem to have pretty much given up the notion that there really is anything new that’s possible. Now we get revamped Wright, Corb, Mies, Neutra, Saarinen, Alto, Pugin, Russian Constructivism, California Mission, Art Deco, Palladio or Albert Speer, depending on who pays who to do what where.

    This is a world-wide trend. There is no cutting edge.

    Like

  24. NF#1 says:

    Pundits now debate
    Form versus function and all
    That is meaningless

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  25. I guess the obvious question at this point (now we have all proved how clever and educated we are on what makes good urban architecture and what Perth should build) is: does anyone have any alternatives to Fed Square in terms of values/aesthetics/ideas/whatever that could’ve been used to spark discussion for this site before ARM went and did what they did? What kind of a public building would we prefer to see in Perth?

    Like

  26. aje says:

    I thought the skeleton looked quite cool. And then the shed panels started. I screamed. I thought it would all be done in glass. Now we will have a cockroach and a try-hard Federation shed as 21st century icons of WA. Puke.

    Like

  27. Pingback: New Perth Public Architecture Forum | The Worst of Perth

  28. MattB says:

    The design for the arena is based on a puzzle that was designed by the crackpot climate skeptic raving Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley. Nothing good was ever going to come of that.

    Like

  29. MattB says:

    In terms of good/bad clients, not for one moment can I imagine that the client in this case decided how this one looks. Unless the Premier of the day got the eternity puzzle for Christmas.

    If only they’d based it on the rubiks cube.

    Like

  30. Mark Benson says:

    There are worst and best every where and by going through this post do not restrain from going on a flight to Perth as it is home to much much better options for one to get entertained and spend one superb holiday in Australia.

    Like

  31. Am. says:

    I was just in Albany and they have a new maritime centre or whatever, some sort of building. it sorta is based on this style of materials and shapes in architecture, but (thankfully) it still resembles a boat-thing. So it kinda makes it cool and okay. I’m not sure what this was meant to resemble. A mess? My bedroom after three hours of trying to find the five cent coin that fell behind my desk? Maybe…. a building ppl would want to see – never.

    Like

  32. Pingback: The continued rise of Shedism | The Worst of Perth

  33. Lise Buckeridge says:

    Have a look at what they were able to build is Iceland, pop 250,000 aprox, the stunning “Harpa” on the waterfront, a beautiful and timeless building, the pride of these people
    http://www.businessinsider.com/harpa-concert-hall-2011-08

    Like

  34. Rolly says:

    Incidentally

    Like

  35. My Ning says:

    Why all the fuss about this shed-like structure? Once it’s finished someone could send a few busses throught the wheatbelt to pick up all the farmers’ teenage sons and daughters, collect a few tonnes of sheep and cow shit, cover the floor with aforementioned shit and a few tonnes of mud, set up a couple of BBQs and bush bar inside and, hey presto, the world’s biggest bachelor and spinsters’ ball. Think of the tourist trade …. it would bring in more people than the Corrigin Tractor Pull, the Dowerin Field Day and the Wagin Woolerama combined.

    Like

  36. snave says:

    I almost cacked my pants with disgust, seeing this project after years away from the city. The old lens cap even looked more modern.

    Like

  37. Falun Bong says:

    Just gets worse by the day.

    Like

  38. Dealer of Scarborough says:

    London Olympic logo reminds me of the arena.

    Like

  39. PeteF says:

    From the other side the (Melbourne style) white tubing reminds me of one of those inflatable figures car yards use to attract attention. Except deflated and in repose over the shed.

    Like

  40. Pingback: Outrage Sunday 82 Di’s Best Panties | The Worst of Perth

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