A bit brutal

Diana Simmonds writes: Re. “Busting brutalist campus architecture myths” (yesterday). Mel Campbell writes The Tower at the University of Technology, Sydney is probably Sydney’s most hated edifice. I believe that dubious title belongs to Harry Seidler’s Blues Point Tower.

Dan Willis writes: I very much enjoyed your article on brutalist architecture and the myths of university campuses. I can probably offer a few insights on the myths around UTS.

Firstly, and tragically, the suicide story is true. Quite sensibly, the tower now has restricted access to the upper-most floors, and essentially no windows you can open. This was, as far as I’m aware, a one-off event.

I absolutely loved the microwaved staff story, but unfortunately that one’s not true. It probably came about because like many tall buildings, there is high-powered broadcast equipment on the roof. This means there are certain parts of the roof with dangerous levels of microwave radiation, which is a shame because it would be lovely to have an office up there — the view is amazing.

It is a similar situation with the bunker story. If you go down to level 1 of the tower (you don’t need the tunnels, there’s a lift), it most definitely feels like a nuclear bunker. As you can imagine, it takes a massive amount of concrete to create the foundations of a 27-storey building, and as it is mostly used for deliveries and services there is very little in the way of decor. Anyway, while it may indeed be the ugliest tower in Sydney, some of us quite like it.

A genuine politician 

Margery Clark writes: Re. “Parliamentary poet Judi Moylan on being a political terrorist” (yesterday). After reading this exit interview my faith in the political process and politicians has been partly restored! What an endangered species — a politician who follows her conscience and keeps her integrity. I am looking forward to the exit interviews of Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Mal Washer, et al.

We need real solutions on drug and alcohol

Geoff Ward writes: Re. “Keane’s slash-and-burn suggestions for the Commission of Audit” (Friday). As a subscriber I have genuinely been grateful to get a perspective that does not simply parrot the neo-liberal ideologically straitjacketed propaganda we get from the Murdoch machine. However, parts of  “Keane’s slash-and-burn suggestions for the Commission of Audit” could belong in a Murdoch tabloid. The neo-liberal agenda is a cancer that just leads us to greater inequality, fewer services and increased social division. The call for closure of agencies such as the Preventive Health Agency and Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education is stupid. Investing in the prevention of illness and disease is not being “a lobbyist for nanny state interventions”.

As someone who works in the drug and alcohol field I can say that we have a national crisis of alcohol abuse, and research is crucial. I do heartily agree with his call to end the prohibition-based approach to drug use. The “war on drugs” has been an utter failure and continues to be abysmal public policy. With the advent of the “Mad Monk” regime we need insightful analysis and criticism not the legitimising of the neo-liberal ideology.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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