Archive for January, 2009

At least we still have the Bledisloe Cup…

Having taken the Cricket World Cup, the World Netball Championships, and enough Olympic Gold to put a serious offer on the South Island, the Aussies look like a good bet to take out the WAN House of the Year 2008 as well. The ‘long list‘ of 30 contains entries from Argentina to Latvia, but the country that comfortably has the highest number of entries is our very dear neighbour Australia. 

 [Click on this image to view the long list…]

I’m not sure how prestigious the award actually is, but hell, it’s gotta look good on the firm’s CV (especially given how easily our national awards are given out these days…). I suspect that, seeing how the long-listed finalists are as interchangeable as any contemporary architectural designed house here (shattering any notions of regionalism), that NZ firms would have stood a reasonable chance of being selected for the long list had appropriate entries been submitted. So, get in there next year…


Posted on 30th January 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

James Shaw and Squint Opera

Our apologies: this event has been cancelled. We hope to be able to reschedule it for another time in the future.  This Thursday 29th January: a coming event that I’m sure you’ll be keen to come along to.  James Shaw, formerly of Wellington and now working with Squint Opera in London, is in town long enough for us to convince him to give a talk. The work he has been doing with Squint is fantastic, especially on the evocation of a drowned London – well worth a look. Venue to be confirmed.

London under water

London under water

Posted on 29th January 2009
Under: AC EVENTS | 4 Comments »

Wind, billowing skirts, and Italian property investors…

Despite being talked up by hardy locals and the odd poet (and I mean odd), one of Wellington’s least endearing qualities is the incessant wind. The Encyclopedia of Chicago, that other famous Windy City, even attempts to shed the notion of Chicago being particular windy (in the climatic sense), by evoking:

Wellington, New Zealand, where it is more precisely meteorological.

This is all fine and dandy, accept for the fact that a recent article in the Guardian, ostensibly about Italian property investors buying a controlling stake in the famous Manhattan landmark Flatiron building, records the fact that the Flatiron building has long been associated with forceful wind velocities. That this group of Italians investors are collectors of ‘trophy buildings’, and thus are very satisfied with their latest acquisition, is remarkable enough, but the article goes on to describe one of the more infamous effects that the high wind speeds were responsible for. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 28th January 2009
Under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Wind, billowing skirts, and Italian property investors…

The Flickr Travelogues – architectural eye-candy from Toronto

There seems to be plenty of recent architectural activity in Toronto, which, being in a prime geopolitical position between the US and UK, is able to draw some big name architects from both sides of the Atlantic (not to mention also being the hometown of one Frank O Gehry…). Anyway, here is a selection of great images from Flickr…  click on the images to see them larger…


 Art Gallery Of Ontario by © Michael D'Amico 

Art Gallery of Ontario (extension); Architect: Gehry Partners, LLP

Images by: Art Matters, © Michael D’Amico, and wvs Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 27th January 2009
Under: Flickr Travelogues | 1 Comment »

Video of the Week II: Sony building melody step (some secret commands)

Who’d a thought getting from one level of a building top the next could be so much fun: these are the melody stairs from the Sony Building in Tokyo.

Here’s a way to encourage more physical activity and less lift usage – just don’t put my office anywhere near the staircase. And apparently, you get kicked out of the building if you play too long, which begs the obvious question – how did this guy discover the secret code…?


Posted on 26th January 2009
Under: Video of the Week | Comments Off on Video of the Week II: Sony building melody step (some secret commands)

from the Similarity Files – or, “haven’t we met before?” Shaklee Terraces

Shaklee Terraces, 444 Market Street, San Francisco CA, United States

Architect: Skidmore Owings Merrill, 1979

Isn’t this somewhat eerily familiar, in this pic at least (and a whole bunch of others by Thomas Hawk, which can be seen here)? While any similarities to a certain green building, completed in our own city almost a decade later (and with a consequent PoMo twist), are no doubt only superficial, the resemblance is nevertheless striking. Our example is noted by local authors as “a tour de force of stylish design” (Hodgson), and as making a “clear reference to the undulating facade of Gummer’s 1940 State Insurance Building” (Shaw), which means of course, that any similarities to SOM’s Shaklee Terraces are entirely incidental…

Comments welcome (and please feel free to email in any other projects for the Similarity Files…)


Posted on 22nd January 2009
Under: Similarity Files | 2 Comments »

The Flickr Travelogues – architectural eye-candy from Hamburg

The Flickr photo-sharing website is an amazing resource for the virtual tourist – oh the places I have virtually been to…

It is, of course, only a visual form of travel, but we here in the antipodes have coped with books, magazines and slide shows when learning about architecture for quite some time – and no doubt will for some time longer. Flickr, however, democratizes selection of the places that we get to see – the ‘icons’ will always be heavily represented, but so will a range of other unnamed and unattributed works that are nonetheless worth witnessing – even in the superficial form (and Flickr excels in the superficial).

So, each week (or perhaps just every now and then) I’ll make a selection of images and post them here for your visual delight. You can click on the images to visit the original (larger images). I will be sure to credit the photographer under each image, (and where details are provided, the architect/s and building as well.

This week’s search terms: Hamburg/contemporary/architecture


image by pocketcanoe44of365 081008 by pocketcanoe

…more after the break… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 21st January 2009
Under: Flickr Travelogues | 3 Comments »