Launch Pad 5: City to Sea bridge

21st May 2015


The WCC Long Term Plan has proposed a re-design of the 1992-designed Civc Square; part of a project to Revitalise the Civic Square precinct which includes a national music hub, and an earthquake strengthened Town Hall.  The plan describes a re-thinking of the squares connections to the CBD: “Upgrading Civic Square and improving links with surrounding streets … Possible “opening up” of building groudn floors so that cafes and shops can open on to the square, and people can more easily see into the square from surrounding streets.”  A plan? and what about the City to Sea bridge – in this proposed context should it stay – or should it go?

JOIN US on Friday 22 May 5.10pm for our online discussion about potential futures for the City to Sea bridge as part of our virtual launch of our givealittle site to fundraise for our involvement in the Basin Bridge High Court Appeal opposing NZTA.

Featuring: Gerald Blunt, Dale Fincham, and Guy Marriage.

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Launch Pad 4: the Proposed Airways Tower

21st May 2015

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Submissions on the first (for what seems like a very long time) notified Resource Consent – the proposed Airways Tower – are due on Friday the 29th March.  The application is to “construct, operate and maintain a new 32.5 metre high air traffic control tower at the Airport Retail Park on Tirangi Road,” on a site that is potentially contaminated.   The Assessment of Environmental Effects states that the proposal  achieves “good urban design principles” and responds to the surrounding environment, and has a “sense of movement” through ” a unique profile …”.

proposed tower

The tower design: “embodies a simple statement about Wellington’s well known wind prone environment.  It does not shirk from addressing the wind, physically and metaphorically, and in doing so it makes a poetic response to the situation in which it sits.”  So what do you think?  How does (or should) urban design work in this seaside suburb?  Should all of our buildings lean?

JOIN US on Friday 22 May 5.00pm for our online discussion on the proposed Airways Tower as part of our virtual launch of our givealittle site to fundraise for our involvement in the Basin Bridge High Court Appeal opposing NZTA.

Featuring: James Fenton, Peter Wood and Christine McCarthy

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Launch Pad 3: Pukeahu: NWMP

21st May 2015


In April this year, the National War Memorial Park | Pukeahu was opened.  It was formally blessed on Wednesday 25th March, following which the site was host to numerous public events.  The park, formed above an undergrounded Buckle St (now Arras tunnel), was speedily built to meet the centenary of ANZAC Day.  So what kind of public space is it?  How importance is it as a national public space? Is this a design which will influence our future public spaces to come?

Here’s Tommy Honey’s view recorded on Radio NZ 9 to noon last week:

Featuring: Bruno Marques, Sally Ogle and Christine McCarthy


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Launch Pad 2: Earthquake House

21st May 2015

The mundune-looking Earthquake House has been with us since Te Papa opened in 1998.  It simulates an aftershock of the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake; the original quake being a magnitude 6.6.  No doubt most parents (uncles, aunts and grandparents, babysitters …) have been dragged to the Earthquake House by shorter people.  It’s now proposed that it be replaced with new exhibitions “integrated with new digital museum experiences.”  Sounds exciting, but this end of an era is perhaps a good time to reflect on the joy and terror that the Earthquake House has brought to millions of children over the last 17 years.

JOIN US on Friday 22 May 4.40pm for our online discussion on Te Papa’s Earthquake House as part of our virtual launch of our givealittle site to fundraise for our involvement in the Basin Bridge High Court Appeal opposing NZTA.

Featuring: Alannah (age 5), Ben (age 8), Lewis (age 5) , and Rose (age 5 and a half)

For those of you for whom it’s been a while since you were in the earthquake house, here’s a 2min video of the experience inside …

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Launch Pad 1: Affordable Housing

21st May 2015


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It is more that obvious that housing affordability is now a perennial topic.  The relatively new distinguishing of “affordable” from “social” housing is also becoming common place.  Houses have long been important projects for architects.  In Wellington, the WCC’s rejuvenation of its social housing stock has meant that locally we have an increasing awareness within our architectural community of contemporary issues pertaining to housing.

JOIN US on Friday 22 May 4.30pm for our online discussion on Affordable Housing as part of our virtual launch of our givealittle site to fundraise for our involvement in the Basin Bridge High Court Appeal opposing NZTA.

Featuring: Nigel Case, Dennis Chippindale, Sam Donald, Sam Kebbell, and Mark Southcombe

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Michael Graves – PoMo gone to the grave

16th March 2015

Too soon for bad-taste comments? Sorry Michael – I never knew you at all, but with a name like Graves you’ve probably had those jokes all your life. A life which has just ended – yes, sadly, the world’s greatest Post-Modern architect has, like the architectural style that he helped spawn, passed away. Far be it for the Arch Centre website to become just a succession of obituaries, but it is worth spending some time on the man, the movement, and the fusion of design craziness that they created together.
If you want to know more about the man, the Architectural Record has a good obituary here, which tells us he died at home in Princeton, aged 80, and was best known for two things: the Portland building in Oregon, and the whistling kettle he created for Alessi. Both were hugely iconic and defined a generation, but both were fundamentally flawed in basic functional design principles. The Portland building was undertaken by Graves when he was in his early 40s and had never built anything that size: a giant cube of space decorated on the outside with stripes and even large floral decorative wreathes, it has had endless discussion over its suitability as an office, More »

RIP Ath’

16th January 2015

It’s been a tough couple of years for Wellington architecture with the significant losses of architectural giants such as Gerald Melling and Bill Toomath, and now today Ian Athfield.


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