Waterfront development

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The long-discussed, on-again-off-again proposal for Site 10 of the waterfront is back on again. Note: Post updated to show more pictures Note: Post updated again to show plan

The Dominion Post today reports that:

“The proposed building, which would be built at site 10 – the motorhome park opposite the NZ Post building in Waterloo Quay – would be developed by the Newcrest Group. The building would feature six floors. The top five would be office space, and 60 per cent of the ground floor would be a public plaza or “winter garden”. Surrounding outdoor areas in the Whitmore Plaza would also be developed to complete the promenade to Wellington railway station. All waterfront buildings are required to have publicly accessible space. Wellington Waterfront chief executive Ian Pike said the proposed public plaza would provide a different option to the bars and cafes in other buildings.

“We’ve elected to go with quite a different offering in this building … This is an opportunity, in a time of economic recession, to deliver a building that’s leading edge.”

Though there was an over-abundance of vacant office space in Wellington, the quality of the building, which would include state-of-the-art seismic earthquake strengthening, would make it attractive to businesses, he said. The design would now be open for public submissions before going to the council late next month for signoff.”

We are interested in your opinion on this. Please – feel free to comment here.
Update – 14 Feb 2012 – additional photos added here (click on them to enlarge).

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Posted under: News | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Waterfront development”

  1. Angie Says:

    One thing the Dom report doesn’t say is : who are the Architects? Any idea? Wasn’t the competition for the site won by Athfield architects?

  2. Guy Says:

    I’m informed that the design is by Studio Pacific.
    There is more information available on the Wellington Waterfront website:
    http://www.wellingtonwaterfront.co.nz/kumutoto_precinct/location_and_history/index.htm
    where they say:
    the proposed development at 10 Waterloo Quay has been stepped back to allow for the old Ferry Building to continue to be seen.
    * The gap between Shed 21 and the Waterloo Quay building will be a respectful distance and provide a meaningful public space and access way between.
    * Shed 21 was refurbished and rejuvenated by Newcrest in 2001, the team leading the redevelopment of this site.
    * The Waterloo Building design has been developed in consultation with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust to ensure that the adjoining Shed 21 and Eastbourne Ferry building heritage structures are respected and complimented.
    * Heritage preservation also includes the restoration and reinstatement of the original waterfront gates to the Whitmore Street entry point.
    * The linear nature of the waterfront development has not changed. What was once ground floor wharf storage with offices above has now become ground floor public spaces, and again offices above.
    * The hallmarks of the burgeoning waterfront architecture at the turn of the century was a variety of heights and scale, diversity of style, a rough alignment to the waters edge, and simplicity and purity of form.
    # The new building at 10 Waterloo Quay is a sculptural, contemporary addition to this significant waterfront site.
    # It is sympathetic to its historical maritime context and takes careful consideration of critical view shafts and key views from the city and the harbour.
    # The building has been designed by award winning architects Studio Pacific Architecture.
    # 10 Waterloo Quay will be the most seismically advanced new office building in the country and will achieve a minimum 5 star Green Star rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council.
    # The form of the building takes it cues from its maritime context and has an exo-skeletal (net-like) structure that wraps and cradles the building on three facades whilst allowing the expression of the seaward facade to be a beautiful folding crystalline form.
    # There is a generous public winter garden / indoor plaza on the ground floor which is seamlessly stitched into the waterfront promenade and public spaces via sheltered colonnades and walkways.
    # The building has substance, depth and tactility fitting of its historical neighbourhood.
    # Over 60% of the ground level of the 10 Waterloo Quay development is devoted to public space including the indoor plaza landscaped with built-in architectural and botanic features providing a seamless flow to the surrounding landscaped Whitmore Plaza
    # The design of the building extends the waterfront promenade beyond the Kumutoto Plaza to the railway station on both the Quay and harbour sides of the building.
    # A pedestrian colonnade along the building aligns with the colonnade on Shed 21. The use of glass allows for views through to the waterfront from the Waterloo Quay side.
    # The new building is a six floor building offering premium office space on the five levels above ground. The height of the building matching the lower plinth of the NZ Post building opposite. The Post building then rises a further 8 floors above the plinth.
    # Below ground level is a car park for 77 cars.
    # The footprint and height are consistent with the limits recommended by proposed District Plan Variation 11.

  3. Nick Says:

    Iona Pannett calls the design disappointing, I’m guessing because the site isn’t a public park? But I think the design is interesting and unique, and it has an elegance that the standard blocks behind it don’t.

  4. queeney Says:

    wharewaka mk2?

  5. Maximus Says:

    I think it is worth looking at the comments from the Dominion Post’s editorial today (Saturday 11 Feb).
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/editorials/6401286/Editorial-Wellingtons-waterfront-is-a-gem-to-be-lovingly-polished

    “OPINION: Wellington’s waterfront has to evolve or die.

    Once a shipping hub, its future now is as a mixed public, private space taking maximum advantage of the capital’s stunning harbour.

    That is why the plan to build a six-storey building in the Kumutoto Precinct on the site of what is now a motorhome park deserves to be looked upon with favour.

    Over the past few decades the waterfront has been the subject of pitched battles between developer-friendly councils and conservationists. The former have sought to generate revenue to finance redevelopment; the latter have attempted to preserve open spaces at all costs.

    For the most part, the contest has served the city well. An industrial wasteland has been transformed into a blend of parks, cafes, restaurants, private dwellings and commercial buildings. The contrast with Auckland’s soulless waterfront could not be more marked.

    The only blots on the landscape are the Stalinist ablution block that goes by the name of the Events Centre and its ugly twin, the former Queens Wharf shopping centre.

    How anybody could have thought plonking two such unattractive buildings on prime waterfront land was in the capital’s interests is beyond belief. They bear no relation to the space they occupy.

    However, the same cannot be said of subsequent developments or the new building proposed across the road from NZ Post’s monolithic HQ.

    The merits of architecture are ultimately in the eyes of the beholder. Some will like the stylised glass box proposed by the Newcrest Group for the site; some will not.

    However, there is no denying the developers and their architects have gone to considerable lengths to fit the building into its surroundings.

    The height has been limited and the bulk of the lowest level will be turned into an enclosed public plaza or “winter garden” to enable the public to enjoy the harbour in bad weather.

    Even critics of the development will be hard-pressed to argue that the building, which needs resource consent to proceed, is not an improvement on an area accurately described by former mayor Kerry Prendergast as “bleak, inhospitable and under-utilised”.

    The waterfront today is unrecognisable from the wasteland that existed 25 years ago.

    Then, it was fenced off from the public. Today it occupies pride of place in a city that has been reoriented to make the most of its best feature. On a sunny day it is teeming with promenaders, joggers and lunchers. The attraction is not just the open space but the opportunity to purchase a cup of coffee or a meal beside the water.

    Sensitive further development of the Kumutoto Precinct will add yet more life to the area by increasing the numbers working in it and giving others more reason to visit the waterfront. Now if only the two eyesores further along the waterfront could be got rid of.”

  6. John B Says:

    I’d like to see some more pictures of this project, can’t make my mind up about it from just one view. Also, have you got any plans? The plans tell us all….

  7. Eye of the Fish | A wide-angle view of architecture, urban design and life in Wellington Says:

    […] from our stated aim of discussing architecture and urbanism, but before we get back to discussing buildings on the waterfront, isn’t there something more important that we should be discussing? I’m talking about […]

  8. Achtung Says:

    Deeply disappointing, a decorated shed which does nothing to activate the adjoining spaces , connect to the city, enhance movement or delight.

    Its sole purpose appears to reinforce some deeply flawed guidelines on height, bulk, and conformity.

  9. Guy Says:

    Achtung – it’s a pity that you seem to have missed the Information evening the other night at the Architectural Centre, where the architects freely discussed and debated the building and the reasons for its design. We like to think that the purpose of the Arch Centre is “to create a climate where knowledge leads and informs opinion and debate, rather than the other way around.” There is a lot more to the design than you may be seeing?

  10. Eye of the Fish | A wide-angle view of architecture, urban design and life in Wellington Says:

    […] been quiet about this new proposed building because Scoop, Stuff, and the Arch Centre appeared to be taking a lead on discussing it – but discussion seems to have died down […]

  11. Guy Says:

    John B – we’ve uploaded a plan for you, so you can see what is proposed for the Ground floor. Click on them to enlarge…

  12. JohnB Says:

    Thanks for the plan – that helps. No idea what is happening upstairs, but then perhaps it is all pretty bland up there?
    Some questions need to be thoroughly thought through by the design team, and answers proposed.

    The Waterfront Framework aims to have all ground floor space 100% accessible by the public, doesn’t it? This current scheme does not do that.

    What will the space become if the public space does not work as planned? If the main use of the space for the public, is as a site to drink coffee and use free internet, that use is already being met in a multitude of places around the city.

    Can the project show more realistic depictions of sunlighting within the public space? The current picture shows lots of people sitting in lots of morning sun. That won’t happen: there will be no sun at all in lunchtime. Afternoon sun is more likely, but still a remote chance in winter when it is needed.

    Will a public space succeed if sunshine is not apparent? Sunshine is so important in a public space! No one is going to sit there if it is in the shade.

    Wouldn’t it be better to have a colonnade on the east side? The colonnade in the Shed 21 development is absolutely terrible to walk through. Badly designed and poorly thought through. Cold and windswept all year long. People want to walk by the waterfront! Can the space be redesigned to avoid cars on the waterside?

    Is the site suitable for a public market such as presently exists in Frank Kitts underground carpark, or in Te Papa’s windswept external car park. Neither of these are really very good sites for markets. Would this site do better – or is lack of carparking immediately adjacent (ie for vege trucks) a stifling factor? Perhaps do some research into uses for undercrofts of buildings, where used as markets for crafts or art?

    What’s with the proposal for toilets and showers at ground floor facing the main street? How dumb is that? If the ground floor space is high, they should be upstairs, and so more free up more ground floor space for the public.

    Is the space more suitable as a venue for art, or temporary exhibitions? Does the closeness of the adjacent corporate lobby have a stultifying effect on non-corporate members of the public?

    Is there a way to completely separate the corporate entry off from the public space ie with an open passage between them? That would stop any “accidental” encroachment of public space by the corporate tenant. The building would then become more “transparent” to the general public as well.

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