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


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41 Responses to ACT Government putting a ‘stop’ to the Concrete Bus Shelters?
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c_c c_c 10:02 pm 01 Aug 12

I don’t like them as they are at the moment, but I think they could be made better.
Add lighting and for high traffic ones passenger information system, and perhaps paint them the same shade of Green as the original timber bus shelters Canberra had, a couple of exampls of which still survive near Manuka.

At the moment, the bright colour shows up years of dirt and the design makes them a risky proposition after dark I think.

AaronT AaronT 9:47 pm 01 Aug 12

the old concrete shelters are much better than the new ones.
plus they don’t have ads on them!

Jethro Jethro 8:34 pm 01 Aug 12

I like the old bus shelters. They have character and generally can’t be smashed to bits by drunken louts.

TallBoy TallBoy 8:20 pm 01 Aug 12

The sooner the pill boxes are replaced by the more modern stops the better. Many of the older stops are quite impractical because their walls prevent one from having a good field of vision. At some, you can’t actually see a bus coming unless you stand outside. As for their aesthetics they are woeful to look at. I much prefer the lower profile aluminium and glass stops as they blend into the side of the road more pleasingly.

I’m glad that this “brutalism” movement you seem to cherish died out after the 60’s and 70’s. “…heavy expanses of exposed concrete and virtually no other decorations…” – I don’t wan’t our bus shelters emulating that style. No thanks!!

Masquara Masquara 7:59 pm 01 Aug 12

Ray Polglaze said :

The problem with new bus shelters is that while they look modern they don’t do much sheltering. They don’t provide much protection from rain, or wind or the sun.

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”

Sandman Sandman 7:57 pm 01 Aug 12

ACT Bus said :

In the majority of cases, the bunker shelters are actually being ‘transplanted’ elsewhere into the network. You’ll see more of them pop up in the older suburbs as the ones on the major thoroughfares are replaced with the newer ones.

Are they selling any of them? I can think of a couple of uses out at the farm for them.

ACT Bus ACT Bus 7:38 pm 01 Aug 12

In the majority of cases, the bunker shelters are actually being ‘transplanted’ elsewhere into the network. You’ll see more of them pop up in the older suburbs as the ones on the major thoroughfares are replaced with the newer ones.

carnardly carnardly 4:39 pm 01 Aug 12

there’s one new bus shelter along Melrose drive that was smashed into oblivion not that long ago.

Gantz Gantz 4:37 pm 01 Aug 12

DrKoresh said :

Gantz said :

If that’s what it means to enter the 21st century then you’ll find me partying like it’s still 1999

You’ll find the excitement you have for partying ‘like it’s 1999’ is the fact that you will be entering the year 2000, the 21st century and a new Millennium.

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

poetix poetix 4:20 pm 01 Aug 12

I think that it would be cruel to evict the trolls who live in such a bus shelter near me. One wears a skirt made of plastic bags, and the other mumbles something about how much he earns to whoever will listen. We nod and give him small pieces of goat.

The ‘stop’ in the headline is as clunky and retro as the bus-shelters, incidentally.

dpm dpm 4:18 pm 01 Aug 12

p1 said :

There used to be one near my house in Cook which had collected sufficient leaves on the roof for it to mulch down and grow a decent crop of grass.

So, they *did* ‘compliment the garden suburb personality of Canberra’s street environments’!

p1 p1 4:11 pm 01 Aug 12

There used to be one near my house in Cook which had collected sufficient leaves on the roof for it to mulch down and grow a decent crop of grass.

SnapperJack SnapperJack 3:52 pm 01 Aug 12

jazzamac said :

There is one in Goulburn as well http://goo.gl/maps/6Ym4e

I remember as a schoolkid being driven to Forster for a family holiday in January 1976 seeing one of these “iconic shelters” on the central coast near Wyong (No F3 all the way to Newcastle back then). They are/were not “unique to Canberra”.

AAMC AAMC 3:37 pm 01 Aug 12

Can i get an old one from the ACT gov? Would make a good chook / wood shed / cubby house / fallout shelter.

DrKoresh DrKoresh 3:20 pm 01 Aug 12

Gantz said :

They are ugly, cold, and at night, especially dark. They have been around for so long, that the only thing you’ll find on examining one, as you have suggested would be fun,
is broken seating, blood, spit trash, gum and a strong stench of urine.

They offer no protection from the elements (though neither do the new shelters) and are a high security risk.

They ‘exude’ no character, and are ugly, deteriorating concrete slabs, that now removed, should have our Town seem like it is entering the 21st century.

Stuff that, it’s the new crappy glass ones that are the problem. They glass bits are always being broken, the seats are uncomfy and the only part of the structure that’s vandalism resistant is the great big fracking ads that comprise half of the shelter. The new ones are the ugly ones, representative of the cheap disposable culture of today, and of the influence corporate entities are having over more and more aspects of our lives. ‘

If that’s what it means to enter the 21st century then you’ll find me partying like it’s still 1999

Ray Polglaze Ray Polglaze 3:10 pm 01 Aug 12

The problem with new bus shelters is that while they look modern they don’t do much sheltering. They don’t provide much protection from rain, or wind or the sun. While the old bus shelters may look ugly and are not well maintained by the ACT Government, they do provide much more protection from the rain, wind and sun. This is important if you use bus shelters and are looking for shelter.

Gantz Gantz 2:51 pm 01 Aug 12

They are ugly, cold, and at night, especially dark. They have been around for so long, that the only thing you’ll find on examining one, as you have suggested would be fun,
is broken seating, blood, spit trash, gum and a strong stench of urine.

They offer no protection from the elements (though neither do the new shelters) and are a high security risk.

They ‘exude’ no character, and are ugly, deteriorating concrete slabs, that now removed, should have our Town seem like it is entering the 21st century.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 2:50 pm 01 Aug 12

I think the old ones look awful. I’m not really sad to see them go.

poetix poetix 2:44 pm 01 Aug 12

The one in Goulburn is probably a severed big merino testicle.

jazzamac jazzamac 2:32 pm 01 Aug 12

There is one in Goulburn as well http://goo.gl/maps/6Ym4e

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