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Old PM&C building is now dust

By Jmy Belco 14 June 2007 34

I walked by National Circuit yesterday and found a hole in the ground where the PM&C building used to be. Has anyone got any photos of the old building, or of the demolition work, to share?
Another 30-year-old building bites the dust (been to Belconnen lately?) – it’s a shame we are so hell bent on deleting the architecture of this period (1968-1980).

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34 Responses to
Old PM&C building is now dust
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VicePope 9:30 pm 15 Jun 07

Thanks, fnaah.
I had one glorious moment in the old, now dead, PM&C building. I wound up with an office that no-one wanted because it was out of the way, dark, cold and rather big with a view about half as attractive as the dunnies at Canberra Stadium. Suited me down to the ground.

Meconium 6:58 pm 15 Jun 07

One of the most popular ways to decorate a so-called efficient building these days is to build it just like the old concrete behemoths, but cover it with brightly-coloured panels. Examples include Sky Plaza, the Eye Hospital and the building next to it, the APVMA offices.

The APVMA building was purpose-built last year and it seems to me that architects haven’t drawn from the inadequacies buildings such as those in Belconnen. It was completely planned around the needs of the APVMA, and having worked there I think it’s as inefficient as any other office building. Hardly any windows, ugly from the outside and filled with cramped offices that weren’t nearly as good as the ones in John Curtin House in Barton where they moved from.

Putting loud colours on a building doesn’t make it good architecture. But even if these concrete wrecks are dysfunctional, we should still keep some of them. Age gives a building character – there’s a reason dystopian sci-fi movies are often set in cities full of structures like these. They’re eerie when they’re old, and the best examples (at least) should be repaired and renovated rather than demolished.

West_Kambah_4eva 3:46 pm 15 Jun 07

“Obviously spoken by someone who has never had the “pleasure” of working in one of the buildings.

Comment by Kramer — 15 June, 2007 @ 9:01 am “

I like being in poorly designed buildings, mainly because there are very few workable deviations away from what is efficient, so generally everything ends up looking more and more similar and more and more boring. Bring back the crappy old buildings! At least they had character!

Thumper 2:50 pm 15 Jun 07

Nah justbands.. I didn’t say old equals good as new also doesn’t equal good.

And yet we seem to be just flattening 70s and 80s buildings willy nilly. Surely some examples of architecture of the period should be kept?

Or should we just wipe that period clean off the slate?

fnaah 2:38 pm 15 Jun 07

Oh, and on the subject of new-fangled steel and glass buildings, I’m out at Snowy-Town Park now – are these buildings only meant to last 25 years? I kinda like the glass-enclosed elevators. It’s a bit soul-less though.

fnaah 2:35 pm 15 Jun 07

VicePope, I’ve worked in the RG Casey building (dfat HQ), i was with DFAT when they moved in.

It’s very beautiful to look at, there are awesome open spaces and atriums and things. Occasionally you’d see a galah-shaped print on the big expanses of glass where the hapless birdie tried to fly right through the middle of the building.

Once you got to your desk, on the other hand, it always felt cramped. They didn’t leave much space for people to actually, you know, *work*. Unless your idea of “work” involved endless meetings interspersed with coffee. There were lots of meeting rooms. Wait, what am I thinking…

Speaking of which, the cafeteria was too small (always super-crowded), and pricey. I heard that they made enough money purely from coffee sales to cover their expenses.

One thing I did like, however, were the server rooms. Pristine, efficient, humidity and temperature controlled, fully redundant, an IT person’s dream.

Mr_Shab 2:17 pm 15 Jun 07

Having also worked there, I agree with Thumper. The inside is non-euclidean. It takes six months before you can keep your sense of direction while walking around.

justbands 2:16 pm 15 Jun 07

Since when does old = good? There’s a reason we are ripping down dodgy 80’s’s cause they’re crap. There’s nothing signicant about them aside from being ugly & poorly designed.

Thumper 2:01 pm 15 Jun 07


EBB is a Harry Seildler building and is listed…

Having worked there, I must say it is a perfect example of how not to build and office building.

looks kind of cool though…

Ingeegoodbee 1:38 pm 15 Jun 07

I think that the Edmund Barton Building was actually listed on the old Register of the National Estate and an outstanding example of dysfunctional 20th century civic architecture!

Thumper 12:52 pm 15 Jun 07


Knock them all down because no-one is smart enough to refurbish the insides? Or to think of an alternate use?

I’m glad the old power station was kept, simply because someone saw the significance of it a long time ago.

Oh, and I agree. PM&C building was an ugly old building.

GnT 12:46 pm 15 Jun 07

I don’t believe it’s worth holding on to something purely for tradition. “Our heritage, our past, our history” – it has to serve a purpose, here, today.

Thumper 12:15 pm 15 Jun 07

Bonfire is perfectly correct in his premise.

And really, we do have to ask, why are we hell bent on tearing down anything old?

it’s out heritage, our past, our history….

Surely that is worth keeping?

Woody Mann-Caruso 11:10 am 15 Jun 07

Centra Plaza in Woden looks ike it was built by the Empire – lots of black glass, stainless steel and blue LEDs. I half expect to see Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter parked in the foyer, or to be covered in carbonite in the lift.

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