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cuba street

Making porridge pancakes: Te Aro Park

By Architectural History, Comment, Heritage, HISTORY, RANTING, urban design, Video of the Week

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 More

Aren’t Street Closures Fantastic?

By EVENTS OTHER


At this very moment Courtney Place is under “Road Closure” while things are being set up for the glories of the Cuba St Carnival culminating in one of the best Wellington events of our calendar – the Cuba St Carnival Parade.

But this is not only evidence of impending celebration but also a sample of what Wellington might be like without cars in its inner city. There’s been emerging interest in car-less cities around the world, or close variations: Dubai, Ohio, Portland, Canada, etc, etc.

Being completely biased, alternating as I do between being a pedestrian and a cyclist (with the occasional bus ride thrown in), I love these kinds of road closures. There’s a wonderful freedom of safe space, of knowing you can walk or cycle anywhere and not get run over. I guess it might be a rare instance of sanctioned pedestrian risque – not having to look before crossing the road. Read More

20under40 : 2006 : Irrevocable Irrelevance

By 20u40, 20under40, AC COMPETITIONS

DATE: 15-16th September 2006
SITE: Oaks complex, from the City by Dixon, Cuba and Ghuznee streets
ORGANISERS: Don Roy, Alain Bruner, Emily Reich, Greta Stoutjesdijk, Eloise Veber, James Shaw, Steve Marshall
JUDGES: Gordon Holden, Morten Gjerde, Sally Woods, Louise Ryan

BRIEF:
Irrevocable Irrelevance Is It Too Late?
Unfettered development is rampant!
Our cities are being suffocated by faceless buildings devoid of architecture; malignant clones dotting our urban landscapes that desensitise their inhabitants and contribute nothing to the urban environment.
Has humanity lost its imagination?
Have we become oppressed by these emotionless structures?
The Architecture Centre says ‘yes’ and now is the time to act.
Spear headed by the recently rejuvenated, and already legendary, manifesto the Centre is set to fight for what it believes. As more people are waking up to these issues the newly resurrected Architecture Centre is attracting droves of informed and concerned public and, with the organisation bursting at it’s 20mmm cavities, it is ready to establish a new HQ.
To aid The Centre, Local and National Authorities have (happily) donated some (lost) space. The site for this new Headquarters is the Oaks complex, from the City by Dixon, Cuba and Ghuznee streets. Always intended to be a temporary structure, the now aged Oaks has become irrelevant and decrepit.
As the loudest critic of the state of the city (we heard your derision), the Architecture Centre and its people have requested that you step up and stand by your(?) beliefs. The new HQ is your opportunity to embody the soul and vision of this dedicated volunteer organisation.
As Wellington’s last remaining designers… do us proud.