Usually I take the opportunity to use my editorial as a platform to offer sage life advice, but this week, I just have to get this off my chest. In the past few years, the University of Auckland has been updating its buildings from the concrete tombs that were built in the 1960’s. While I welcome the addition of working air conditioning and removal of asbestos ceilings, there is still one thing that bothers me. Why are the new buildings so fucking ugly?
The Owen G. Glenn Building managed to look actually quite nice upon its completion over a decade ago, and hasn’t aged too badly. To be fair, it did have a lot of outside money to help cover costs, primarily by its namesake Owen Glenn. But surely the amount of money shouldn’t impact taste that badly.
The new science building tacked onto the Maths and Physics Building is definitely an interesting architectural choice. Points for the study space inside, but the outside is a distinct look. The diagonal slats give it a textured look, but they seemed to give up halfway through and opt for somehow already dated windows for the top. Somehow, already dated is apparently UOA’s new aesthetic.
If you have tilted your head up towards the new Engineering Building (yes, the one to replace the current poorly engineered Engineering Building), you will see a myriad of ugly choices. Each window has been kitted out with its own personal sun visor, that I imagine in years to come will be properly caked in bird shit, reducing the glare that makes its way to the Craccum office’s windows. My personal favourite is the coloured window sills that make each window look like the entryway to a year 2 classroom.
And the future is looking just as ugly with the new Health Science Building currently under construction in Grafton. While Grafton campus may be grey, it does look pretty sleek, showing you that yes, the med school has money. I think the Health Science Building has used its design to say “yes, we are now in Grafton, but this is what you get when you study population health”.
I don’t know who is in charge of the buildings at UOA, but please stop making everything look like it is from the 90’s.