RORY SALAZAR | Finance | Contact
Betoota’s famed French Quarter has just added another significant heritage building to its ranks today.
The brand new, 22 storey apartment tower is a modern architectural marvel.
In the sense that it is a product entirely of its budget-conscious times. Boasting featureless facades, ugly carpeting, flammable cladding and an internal lift that is in a constant state of disrepair, it is not usually the type of building to receive heritage protections.
However, while construction was completed only eight months ago, a recent building inspection found that it has already deteriorated as if it was built way back in the 1600s.
“The building still has that new paint smell but the structural defects are immense,” building inspector Timothy O’Shea (31) told the Advocate from inside one of the miserable dogbox apartments earlier today.
“The thing about modern construction techniques is that it’s all about building the simplest buildings possible with the cheapest materials and doing that as fast and as many times as you can around town.”
“It’s kind of like the Kmart business model. Keep it cheap and on mass scale,” he explained.
The Advocate can confirm that even though this modern tower, “The Residences” as it’s known, is touted as being a high-end luxury offering, it looks like a depressing eye sore that was poorly constructed using only the limited set of tools available way back before electricity was invented.
Windows don’t close properly, water leaks down through most ceilings, the apartments are laid out with awkward study nooks that are described as ‘open space living areas’, and the entire structure has already sunk six inches to give the whole edifice a lean to one side.
The Advocate spoke with Betoota City Council’s Heritage Advisor, Cathy Jenkins (36), who told the Advocate that while heritage significance is only given to buildings that are older than 75 years and are a remarkable architectural feat, the way in which The Residences have deteriorated so quickly is a striking reflection of what buildings look like after they’ve been left to rot for 400 years or more.
“The amount of weathering the building looks to have suffered almost gives it a renaissance-era quality,” Jenkins mused.
“It’s a triumph of the old world classical aesthetic. There’s a remarkable symmetry to the way the building is crumbling, even though it’s only eight months old.”
“The proportional degradation lives in harmony with the tower’s looming collapse,” she continued.
“You could walk past this building and be forgiven for thinking it was built with simple handmade tools that our distant ancestors used,” she said.
The Advocate understands that Council is already eyeing off several other new builds around town for heritage listing.