The ANU was left in damage control on Monday after a large number of incoming international students mistook the newly-opened Kambri precinct for the brutalist architecture documented in HBO’s award-winning miniseries Chernobyl.
Woroni spoke to a number of students who commented that they had seen “healthier grass” and “more architecturally impressive buildings” in the hit TV series. Some mused that the recent influx of fire trucks commonly seen surrounding Fenner Hall prompted realisations of the “disaster this entire project turned out to be”. One student told Woroni, “I guess these new renovations will look less like Chernobyl and more like the ANU exchange brochures once something a little less brutalist gets built around here”. Another merely commented, “I wanna get me some of whatever the painters were smoking when they chose that hospital-grey colour scheme”.
ANU’s head of Facilities and Services, Borisily Shcherbinakraka, told a packed press conference on Monday morning: “I am pleased to report that the situation in Kambri is more than satisfactory. Despite our initial fears that two years of enduring noisy, inconvenient construction work wasn’t worth this shit, the bold new campus experience has well and truly lived up to its glowing anticipation”. The Russian-born ANU bureaucrat went on to herald the newly opened Kambri amphitheatre as an example of such, in spite of the fact that, much like modern day Chernobyl, the amphitheatre today remains completely deserted.
Speaking shortly after, ANUSA’s acting Vice President Valery Legasovivichy admitted to reporters: “Kambri is disappointing. And every piece of dead flora and fauna, every outrageously expensive venue and aesthetically-displeasing building adds to a campus-wide feeling of nuclear disaster. Its toxicity is spreading like radioactive waves, slowly deforming the hopes of ANU students who expected better”.
Such was the gravity of the disagreement between the undergraduate representative body and the ANU leadership that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton gave his own two cents on the debate on Twitter later in the day: “Take my advice @BrianSchmidt: make the ANU-Secure WiFi as difficult to connect to as possible. Stop the spread of misinformation.”
These latest revelations add to a plague of problems associated with the precinct’s opening. Only last month, IKEA Australia initiated legal action against the ANU for blatantly copying IKEA’s iconic “Scandi-chique” wooden interior designs throughout the Marie Reay building. When contacted, Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt refused to comment on this matter.
The University is considering taking steps to prevent prospective students from discovering the underwhelming feedback for fear of drops in international fees so vital to maintaining its revenue stream. More to come.