Learning from Christchurch – or not.

Cr Andy Foster’s comment over on EyeoftheFish regarding issues of eq preparedness in Wellington highlight, for me at least, something of the difficulties of this particular discussion Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 6th December 2011
Under: Comment, urban design | 2 Comments »

Making porridge pancakes: Te Aro Park

I haven’t been down to the container exhibition of WCC’s Wellington 2040 vision, but am looking forward to doing so soon. What I have seen is the recent post over on EyeoftheFish, which gives us a sneak preview of a small part of the type of outcome that might be expected to emerge from that vision: in this case, a new green space where the Oaks building is currently sited. As the Fish reports, that site has been the subject of many suggestions for ‘improvement,’ some of which are captured in this thread. A particularly intriguing one was the suggestion of a ‘Flatiron’/wedge-shaped building on Te Aro Park, and a park where Oaks currently is – a swap of building for open space and vice versa.

Anyway, WCC’s artist’s impression for this specific site (in accordance with the 2040 vision), has been published by the Fish, which I have plagiarised (above) for this post (click on the image to see it larger over on EotF). Although WCC might well be congratulated for a bold vision and a positive intervention in our urban fabric, at a detailed level, the featureless expanse of lawn probably leaves a lot to desire (and would present a heck of a maintenance issue, even worse that those that currently exist on the Te Aro Park part of the site). That aside, there are other, I think more interesting, issues here that seem always to be overlooked when discussion of what to do with Te Aro Park arises – in particular, issues of both urban and cultural heritage. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 24th June 2011
Under: Architectural History, Comment, Heritage, HISTORY, RANTING, urban design, Video of the Week | 16 Comments »

Let’s go the whole hog with heritage

No, not in any Gerry Brownlee way, but if there’s going to be any strengthening going on why mess with 30%?  Why put all that kind of money into strengthening when to strengthen to 100% won’t cost another 70% but much much less? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 7th March 2011
Under: Comment, Heritage, Heritage Buildings | 13 Comments »

Old Dungas to Go

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Posted on 2nd March 2011
Under: Architectural History, Comment, Heritage Buildings | 20 Comments »

Green Building – boston styles

I promised these some time ago, so here they are – a wee photo essay on green building in Boston – back when it was so much easier to be green (so to speak)… Sorry I can’t get my hands on more heritage info (for those that are interested) – it appears that there is so much heritage in Boston that gems such most of these below go completely unrecognised… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 10th April 2010
Under: Architectural History, Heritage Buildings | No Comments »

Video of the Week XVII: heritage of course

A nice reminder of that there’s potential and merit in almost every architectural addition … or “repurposing” … Compelling juxtapositions and more!!

Posted on 16th June 2009
Under: Heritage, Video of the Week | No Comments »

Rhythm and ‘cues’


Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous                                                                                                     Yehudi Menuhin

This is an exercise that I show to my first year architectural history students, in the attempt to have them understand some of the values inherent to the knowledge of architectural history. This reasonably iconic Wellington building, when analysed in relation to the rhythm of its fenestration and major vertical elements, I argue, is a good example of notions of symmetry and rhythm in Classical architecture, which are strongly (perhaps jarringly?) juxtaposed here with a more modern development arising from the old (it is not difficult to distinguish the two).

The new development does, however, reference the rhythm of the building upon which it is based, but not in a sympathetic, or even ‘harmonious’ manner. The question is, when reduced down to the basic elements such as this, is the attempt facile, or is it very clever and appropriate to contemporary ideas of architecture, and, perhaps, the irony of ‘sympathetic’ interventions to ‘heritage’ buildings and/or streetscapes? I’m actually yet to decide…

When the actual building is revealed (which it is after the break if you have not guessed it by now), it becomes impossible to judge it objectively when presented by the awful kitschiness of its Postmodernised Classical motifs – but I think there is worth in attempting to do so… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 4th May 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »