Friday, September 5, 2014

Marlston Hill Rotary Lookout Tower

Usually when we go "down South" we give the city of Bunbury a miss, however because we went to Yallingup last week en couple

(this means no bickering, whinging, perpetually hungry teenagers! No dog! No stress! No rush to get to our destination!)

we decided to stop there for lunch. 
Fish and chips on the beach and time to have a wander = lovely.

There are many beautiful old buildings in Bunbury - it was settled in the 1830's so we expected this. There are some incredible art deco buildings too (check Cronshaws on Victoria Street)  we expected to see them as well so no biggie there either, but what we didn't expect to see in conservative old Bunbury was this
Marlston Hill Rotary Lookout Tower(image via)

incredible Brutalist structure constructed of concrete and steel, designed by Sasha Ivanovich. Built in 1988 to commemorate the foundation of Australia.
(the city of Bunbury's bicentenary project)

Pretty speccy eh?!

I know some of you won't like it. You'll be thinking "spectacularly ugly, yes!" and that's okay, I get it. Great slabs of granite speckled concrete are not everyone's cup of tea, but I think it's spectacular full stop. From top to bottom. "Beautiful in a dramatic and eye catching way" (the Oxford Dictionary definition of spectacular). Just look at that massive star-shaped sculpture which supports the viewing platform above it! Hell-ooo!

That's the thing about Brutalist architecture, you either love it, or loathe it. 
Rodney Gordon (British architect, 1933-2008. Check the Tritcorn Centre) said this:
Any piece of architecture worth being called architecture is usually both hated and loved.
He was spot on, wasn't he?!
You're certainly not feeling blah or wishy-washy about Marlston Hill lookout tower, are you?
image me (as are the following)
Oh concrete, how I luff you!
wish I knew the significance (or not?) of these flowers...

p.s. even if you are a 'hater' once you climb the (hundred or so) steps to the top and see that 360 degree view of Bunbury - its port, and coastline, you'll be more forgiving. You might even come round... It's definitely worth a bit of huffing and puffing. We even saw a whale :) 


  1. Hello Kylie,

    This is indeed a remarkable piece of architecture. We too quite like the brutally concrete form, one has to admire the incredible flexibility of this seemingly uncompromising material. And, how wonderful to be rewarded with an amazing view after climbing all those stairs.

    We are reminded of the many stations of the Jubilee Line in London where concrete is definitely the material of choice and so it is also with the newly built Metro 4line here in Budapest. It lends itself to such monumental forms such as the lookout tower very well indeed.

    We have enjoyed looking through some of your past posts. We found you quite by chance after visiting Curtise and we have signed up as followers.

  2. Love it! You won't get any argument from me about its being spectacular. I confess to being fairly enamored of Art Deco too, so I love the Cronshaws building too.

  3. Love it, love it, love it - but DID YOU SWIM WITH DOLPHINS??? xxx

  4. Ten years ago I would have hated it, now I don't yet love it, but your enthusiasm is catching and I can definitely see that is interesting. What I love more than anything is to be introduced to other people's passions. It makes me look at things in a new way, and consider things I may have dismissed before. I'm glad you had such a fabulous time, just the two of you. Fish and chips on the beach sounds wonderful. Xxx

  5. Now, just to be awkward, I'd say I am neither hater nor ardent lover, I can see the appeal and the drama of the design, but it doesn't make my heart sing in the way it clearly does for you! That circular spiky star-bursty top is fabulous though. And any town called Bunbury is OK with me! xxx

  6. Just as freckleface said; your enthusiasm is catching and your blog always makes me look at things in a new way & consider things that I wouldn't have in the past. Fish & chips sans children (although I know your kids are big!) is always a good thing, right? Don't mention the Tigers x

  7. It's amazing! I love brutalist concrete monoliths like this. You should be an architect Kylie. You've got the eye!