Dun & Bradstreet Building

Adelaide, Australia | C.1928

Photo Credit: Marco Di Stefano

This contradiction of a building—located in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia—is hulking, severe, and yet conceived in a manner as to allow significant sunlight through its north-facing windows. Finished in 1929, it originally served as office space for an electrical engineering firm.

The structure still stands in the city center, close to the River Torrens, in an area originally inhabited by the indigenous Kaurna people and known as Tarndanyangga (“red kangaroo rock”), making it fitting that the building is held up by red bricks.

Dun & Bradstreet, among other things global debt collectors, acquired the site for their Adelaide branch in 1978. In 2012 they were called in to track down thousands of people who collectively owed the state government as much as $260 million in unpaid fines. Two years later, a considerable amount remained outstanding, and the government changed their strategy to one of public humiliation.

The attorney general began publishing the names and birthdays of the top five hardcore defaulters ignoring their fines. The first listing included a twenty-four-year-old who owed $115,000 exclusively in parking and traffic offenses. But years after the campaign began, the debt remained outstanding.

In time, Dun & Bradstreet moved on—but the facade still bears their fine script.

📖 Featured on Page 334 of AWA, The Book 📖

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