Skip to content Skip to main navigation

ACT Government putting a ‘stop’ to the Concrete Bus Shelters?

Scai_Scai 1 August 2012 41

What is happening to our bus stops?

Lately, some bus stops in Canberra have been subjected to drastic remodelling. Many bus stops situated around Canberra feature a round, cream and orange coloured, concrete shelter. These bus shelters are considered to be Canberra icons as they are unlike any other in Australia, however these icons are under threat of being removed and replaced with generic bus shelters made of aluminium and glass.

Designed by highly regarded, local Canberran architect, Clem Cummings (1934 – 1997), the cream and orange bus shelters first appeared at Canberra bus stops in 1975. Cummings was a prominent figure in the architecture profession and has an award dedicated to him known as the Clem Cummings Medal that recognises contributions by persons to architecture and the public interest.

The concrete bus shelters were designed during the ‘Brutalist’ period of architecture. Brutalism is the label retrospectively given to a style of architecture that flourished in the 1960s and 1970s. It is perhaps, most characterised by heavy expanses of exposed concrete and virtually no other decorations, a style these bus shelters emulate. They have been characterised by locals with colourful names such as: ‘The Tanks’, ‘The Pill Boxes’, and ‘The Concrete Bunkers’. You may find, however, that a lot of these ‘Brutalist’ bus shelters have beautiful artist murals that give it an added individual charm.

If you have not been able to appreciate the character these bus shelters exude, perhaps the next time you come across one, take some time to examine it a little more closely. You may be surprised to notice that even its simple geometric shape compliments the garden suburb personality of Canberra’s street environments.

These concrete bus stops have become a recognisable and familiar feature of Canberra’s suburban landscape, leaving an imprint on the minds of residents and visitors alike. The fact that these bus shelters still serve their practical purpose well raises questions about the rationale of having them ripped out and replaced. When he designed Canberra, Walter Burley Griffin stated: “I have designed a city that is not like any other in the world.”

Although that legacy remains today, it is under threat. In this particular example the threat is in the form of your stereotypical bus shelter made of aluminium and glass that can be found everywhere else outside of Canberra.

Have your say – please share your stories and experiences you have had with these concrete bus shelters.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/83914356@N03/7688106674/

Lyttleton Crescent, Cook, ACT 2614

http://www.flickr.com/photos/83914356@N03/7687821386/

Lachlan Street, Macquarie, ACT 2614


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
41 Responses to ACT Government putting a ‘stop’ to the Concrete Bus Shelters?
Filter
Order
JC 2:05 pm 10 Aug 16

Robz said :

JC said :

Your obviously not looking too closely. It seems that the old bunker shelters as they are known when replaced by a new model are moved elsewhere in Canberra. So they will be around for a bit longer yet so you can take a chill pill now and relax a little.

Unless the old “bunker style” bus shelters can not be repaired, why would they need to move and replaced by one of the flimsy, ineffective, free ones ????

How many of the old ones are found to be “unrepairable” and not reused. If anyone has seen an old one being reinstalled somewhere, please advise on here. I can not see the old bunker style bus shelters being reused for say, the Molonglo valley bus routes. If a new or replacement bus shelter is needed, why wouldn’t one of the new, free ones complete with advertising, be installed instead.

The reason they move them is to put the new ones in more visible locations (for the advertising) and then relocate the older ones to less used or less visible locations.

Must admit haven’t seen a move for a while so maybe they have stopped doing it, especially as most of the more visible (main road) stops are the newer style, but that is what they did before including putting older bunkers into new suburbs.

Considering it is zero cost to the ACT don’t see any great issue.

dungfungus 8:43 am 10 Aug 16

pink little birdie said :

Bonkers said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

Glass panels are vandal bait in Canberra.
One of them will be checking out the best new hammer to buy as I type this.

Just like the windows in the bunkers. There was a time they had Perspex Windows and the action logo on a fibreglass panel that surrounded the window.

I was referring more to the windows facing London Circuit on the Legislative assembly building that were destroyed not once but twice by the same person.

rommeldog56 8:42 am 10 Aug 16

JC said :

Your obviously not looking too closely. It seems that the old bunker shelters as they are known when replaced by a new model are moved elsewhere in Canberra. So they will be around for a bit longer yet so you can take a chill pill now and relax a little.

Unless the old “bunker style” bus shelters can not be repaired, why would they need to move and replaced by one of the flimsy, ineffective, free ones ???? How many of the old ones are found to be “unrepairable” and not reused. If anyone has seen an old one being reinstalled somewhere, please advise on here. I can not see the old bunker style bus shelters being reused for say, the Molonglo valley bus routes. If a new or replacement bus shelter is needed, why wouldn’t one of the new, free ones complete with advertising, be installed instead.

JC 7:35 am 10 Aug 16

Bonkers said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

Glass panels are vandal bait in Canberra.
One of them will be checking out the best new hammer to buy as I type this.

Just like the windows in the bunkers. There was a time they had Perspex Windows and the action logo on a fibreglass panel that surrounded the window.

JC 7:33 am 10 Aug 16

A_Cog said :

K320Scania said :

I’d love one of these concrete bus shelters in my garden. With a fresh coat of paint and a table setting inside they would be a cool feature in the garden. But unfortunately, as my garden has been landscaped and planted out I don’t have the room now. They are great looking and decorative; something the modern replacements, lack.

I 100% agree. The old ones are quirky, solid and identifiable. I think they’re great and would love one in my back yard – as you say, a coat of paint and they’d be a great garden feature. Does anyone happen to know what’s happening to the ones being removed?

As I said above they generally get relocated elsewhere unless they are damaged.

madelini 11:59 pm 09 Aug 16

K320Scania said :

I’d love one of these concrete bus shelters in my garden. With a fresh coat of paint and a table setting inside they would be a cool feature in the garden. But unfortunately, as my garden has been landscaped and planted out I don’t have the room now. They are great looking and decorative; something the modern replacements, lack.

I 100% agree. The old ones are quirky, solid and identifiable. I think they’re great and would love one in my back yard – as you say, a coat of paint and they’d be a great garden feature. Does anyone happen to know what’s happening to the ones being removed?

wildturkeycanoe 10:49 pm 09 Aug 16

Bonkers said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

Glass panels are vandal bait in Canberra.
One of them will be checking out the best new hammer to buy as I type this.

I’ve seen the glass on the one near our place replaced almost every week. I stopped and asked the guys replacing the glass why they didn’t use Lexan so they couldn’t smash it. Apparently it burns really well, so it isn’t used either.

dungfungus 11:26 am 09 Aug 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

Glass panels are vandal bait in Canberra.
One of them will be checking out the best new hammer to buy as I type this.

JC 10:00 am 09 Aug 16

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

dungfungus 9:52 am 09 Aug 16

burtthebike said :

The old shelters must go. They no longer match the weakness of the current times. They belong back in a time of strength

Right on! Back in BSG times.

Maya123 8:57 am 09 Aug 16

I’d love one of these concrete bus shelters in my garden. With a fresh coat of paint and a table setting inside they would be a cool feature in the garden. But unfortunately, as my garden has been landscaped and planted out I don’t have the room now. They are great looking and decorative; something the modern replacements, lack.
As to someone complaining they are dirty (without re-reading everything to check, likely referring to vomit and urine), do you really imagine that putting in a new bus shelter will change anything regarding this?
What is good about the old bus shelters is that the bus can be seen coming when waiting inside them, providing of course, they are installed correctly, and most I have used have been directioned correctly; not facing the road, but facing where the bus comes from. If a bus shelter isn’t facing the arriving bus, don’t blame the design; blame whoever installed it incorrectly.
Something that ‘amuses’ me reading comments here is that I wonder how many of the detractors actually catch buses and therefore have actually tried out the different bus designs.

gooterz 11:33 pm 08 Aug 16

The old shelters must go. They no longer match the weakness of the current times. They belong back in a time of strength

sepi 6:35 pm 08 Aug 16

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

devus 2:28 pm 02 Aug 12

“Brutalism is the label retrospectively given to a style of architecture that flourished in the 1960s and 1970s. It is perhaps, most characterised by heavy expanses of exposed concrete and virtually no other decorations”

Haven’t come across this term before. It’s so heartening that this extra special flavour of ugly has its own name.

JC 8:49 am 02 Aug 12

Your obviously not looking too closely. It seems that the old bunker shelters as they are known when replaced by a new model are moved elsewhere in Canberra. So they will be around for a bit longer yet so you can take a chill pill now and relax a little.

c_c 12:01 am 02 Aug 12

thatsnotme said :

Gantz said :

The newer bus ‘shelters’ windows are plastic, pretty sturdy also.

Are you talking about the ad-shell shelters, with advertisements inside and out? Because all of the ones I’ve been to have glass windows. I know this, because there have been several mornings when all that’s been left of them is broken glass on the ground.

I have to say though, that whenever this has happened, the glass has been replaced pretty quickly, and the mess cleaned up. I can only assume that the owners realise that advertisers don’t want to pay for ads surrounded by broken glass and mess.

I am scratching my head why they use glass instead of polycarbonate… the stuff they use in blast and bullet resistant glass, and indeed, vandal resistant glass from companies like Veridian.

poetix 11:30 pm 01 Aug 12

OK, it’s late, I have been at the duty free, and I’m avoiding watching some Slovenian person go around little flag things in a tiny boat on rough water, but…the more I look at the photos of the old concrete bus-stops and the new, open ones, the more it seems to mark the shift between an older notion of self (huddled with a book, perhaps) and the new, always on display self, ready to be ‘imaged’ on any phone and made available to anyone, anywhere.

Which is not to say that I’d feel safe in the old bunkers. Not at all.

thatsnotme 10:39 pm 01 Aug 12

Gantz said :

The newer bus ‘shelters’ windows are plastic, pretty sturdy also.

Are you talking about the ad-shell shelters, with advertisements inside and out? Because all of the ones I’ve been to have glass windows. I know this, because there have been several mornings when all that’s been left of them is broken glass on the ground.

I have to say though, that whenever this has happened, the glass has been replaced pretty quickly, and the mess cleaned up. I can only assume that the owners realise that advertisers don’t want to pay for ads surrounded by broken glass and mess.

thatsnotme 10:26 pm 01 Aug 12

Masquara said :

That’s because the ACT Government thinks of them as vehicles for advertising rather than shelter.

By the way, has anyone else noticed that the ACT Government has been advertising alcohol at bus shelters opposite schools all year, in contravention of its own guidelines on the management of alcohol? The two shelters opposite Campbell High on Limestone Avenue are a case in point: they advertised American Honey bourbon (sickly sweet & aimed specifically at the youth market) for two or three months in the first half of the year in the shelter where the Campbell High School kids gather, and then a brand of beer on the other side of the road (where Campbell High kids also gather) more recently. The Government’s own guidelines undertake to: “Reduce young people?s exposure to alcohol advertising by working with the Australian Government and other state and territory governments to ensure alcohol products are not targeted at people younger than 18 years.”

To locate the document online, search for “ACT alcohol tobacco and other drugs strategy”

I don’t know if anything’s changed since these shelters started to be installed originally, but the deal with these shelters is that the ad-shell pay to have them installed, then sell advertising within them to recoup their costs. So the ACT Government hasn’t been advertising anything – ad-shell has been.

I agree that alcohol advertising at bus shelters near schools shouldn’t happen though, and I hope that you’ve raised the issue directly with the ACT Government. I’d like to think that their contract with ad-shell covers stuff like that…I’m not confident that’d be the case though.

M0les 10:17 pm 01 Aug 12

I recall way back when I was a spotty student (Possibly late 80’s/early 90’s), the gummint had decided to cease deploying and commence actively replacing the “gun emplacement” bus shelters. This stuck in my head because someone was almost immediately killed in Curtin (on McCulloch St., IIRC) when vehicle ran-over one of the new aluminium/glass shelters.

I felt at the time (and still do) that it’s sad these distinct things I’d grown-up with were going-away (Although it was difficult to argue with the safety reasoning).

They used to have lights and perspex windows too! I too have seen them outside Canberra some times as well.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2019 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site