The Urbanist

Out of the box

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19 January 2017

Episode 275

30 minutes


Photo: Jo Schmaltz

This week we look at those slightly unusual structures that make you ask: how did that get built and what does it say about the city that hosts it? We cover some very obvious eyesores, peculiar street furniture and divisive buildings challenging all architectural norms and models. Is it time for us to embrace them?

19 January 2017

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Chapter 1

6 minutes


Photo: Bradley Howard

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Chapter 1

Yugoslavia’s architecture

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Yugoslavia had mixed fortunes when it came to architecture. Skopje was flattened by an earthquake in the 1960s, forcing a radical rebuild, and Belgrade has been bombarded so many times that maintaining architectural integrity has become a nigh-on impossible task.

6 minutes

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Chapter 2

8 minutes


Photo: Alamy

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Chapter 2

Alicante’s mushrooms

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The Spanish city of Alicante, known for its beachfront high-rises and perennial sunshine, also has a lesser-known but infinitely more colourful attraction: some rather large, shiny and undeniably controversial mushrooms sprouting along the entire Calle San Francisco.

8 minutes

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Chapter 3

4 minutes


Photo: Photocapy

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Chapter 3

Embrace the ugly?

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With the world seemingly being sanitised to create acceptable aesthetics and urban experiences, it takes courage to build a truly ugly thing – because in the end the ugly often rises from convictions about form and use.

4 minutes

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Chapter 4

12 minutes


Photo: JeanbaptisteM

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Chapter 4

Divisive buildings: Centre Pompidou

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Since its opening in 1977, the Pompidou Centre in Paris has divided opinion. The museum is due a major renovation for its 40th anniversary but no compromise will be made on the original vision of architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.

12 minutes

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