Thursday, May 11, 2006

The View from the 25th Floor

Well, I’ve been in the new workplace for 4 days now and have pretty well settled in.

Above is a view from the window nearest to my workspace. It takes in the view North of the CBD. In the middle are the Exhibition Gardens with the ugly Melbourne Museum (those thrusting structures) behind the graceful old Exhibition Building. The Exhibition Building is no longer used for exhibitions. A new exhibition centre was built during the Kennett years and was instantly nicknamed “Jeff’s Shed”. It’s another one of those thrusting structures, which appeared to be the architectural style of Kennett’s time. The current government favours curves. A prime example is the new Southern Cross railway station. I watched it develop in my years at the other end of town. It is an amazing feat of engineering and has turned out to be quite a spectacular building. It’s Melbourne’s answer to Sydney’s Opera House.

As I have never worked in a newly built office before, it’s cool being in a new building. In March this year the building was blessed in a traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony. This apparently pays respect to the spirits of the land and cleanses an area for a new beginning. Perhaps it worked, for the building has a pleasant ambience. It actually feels good to inhabit.

I cannot claim to have the view above, as my workspace is in the middle of the labyrinth. I stare at my computer or the wall of the partition. You had to have clout, or have a boss with vertigo, to get a window seat.

The security resembles Fort Knox , though. You can’t go anywhere without taking your security card. Doors swing open with a Star Wars whoosh at the wave of the card. It 's fun to pretend that one has super powers and wave one’s arms majestically as the doors part.

To have express lifts that don’t freak you out is a pleasure. The building we just vacated had the most appalling lifts. They were always breaking down, rattled and vibrated, made strange groaning noises and could certainly give you a nasty turn if they suddenly ground to a halt and dropped a foot or two in between floors.

About the only negative thing about inhabiting the 25th Floor is the idea of walking down 25 flights of stairs in emergency evacuation drills. I was on the 13th Floor in the old building and that was bad enough.

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