It’s known as brutalist architecture.
An example is this massive concrete fortress, also known as Boston City Hall.
Some might call it a concrete monstrosity. In fact when you type concrete monstrosity into Google, up pops Boston City Hall.
But Google isn’t the font of all knowledge. Some people do like the building. It should be said, though, that a lot of people dislike it.
But what about Newcastle City Council’s administration centre, known as the Roundhouse.
Does it divide people? Most people like it, don’t they?
The Herald reported recently on the 40th anniversary of the Roundhouse, which is also known as the Champagne Cork, the Wedding Cake and the Shuttlecock.
The story said architects Romberg & Boyd combined with Wilson & Suters to tackle the project.
Former councillor Keith Parsons recalled a conversation he had many years ago with a bloke named Steve Busteed.
“Steve was a partner with Brian Suters, whose firm worked with the designing architects, Romberg & Boyd from Melbourne. Frederick Romberg was also the Professor of Architecture at Newcastle University,” Keith said.
“Steve said that Romberg wanted a round building based on Boston City Hall.”
Newcastle’s building opened in 1977 and the Boston building in 1968.
In 2008, Boston City Hall was voted as the “World's Ugliest Building”.
Boston’s mayor at the time, Thomas Menino, tried to flip the story (which spread far and wide), saying it had been a boon to tourism.
But when the design was first unveiled, the then mayor John F. Collins was reportedly in shock, while another person who was present blurted out, “What the hell is that?”.
Writing in the Boston Globe in 2013, Paul McMorrow said the building should be torn down.
“City Hall is so ugly that its insane upside-down wedding-cake columns and windswept plaza distract from the building’s true offense,” he wrote.
“Its great crime isn’t being ugly – it’s being anti-urban.
“The building and its plaza keep a crowded city at arm’s length.”
But a 1976 American Institute of Architects poll of architects, historians and critics ranked the building as one of the 10 proudest achievements of American architecture.
Brutalist structures have been labelled as cold-hearted, inhuman, hideous, monstrous and totalitarian.
Others find beauty in brutalism.
Dr Ursula de Jong, deputy chair of the National Trust of Australia, told the ABC last year that “brutalism makes such an incredible statement”.
“It is muscular architecture. It says: 'Here I am’.”
As for Newcastle’s roundhouse, we reckon its circular features take the edge off any brutal characteristics.
But we do wonder, what’s it like to work at the building?
Send us your thoughts at email@example.com.
Harry Sales, of Swansea, used to work in a coalmine in Lake Macquarie.
Nicknames were quite common.
“One union official was called Lord Bucketmouth. I used to call another bloke Handbag because everybody had to carry him around. Another bloke – he was a bit like a twist top, short and round, so they called him twisty. Another bloke we used to call Government because his surname was Grant,” Harry said.
Send your old coalmining stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.