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WCC

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 onĀ 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 thisĀ 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 beĀ congratulatedĀ 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

Wellington 2040: A smart green city – a “freakin fantastic” idea

By News, urban design

Image by Phillip Capper

This post is really just a heads-up for those of you who don’t keep up with the Dom-Post (and let’s be honest, they don’t really offer much reason to do so), but here is an article (via stuff.co.nz) that should have some interest for our members:

Wellington 2040: A smart green city

Although I recommend you read the article for yourself, the basic gist is that WCC have prepared a Central City Strategy that recognises the central city’s role as the heart of Wellington, and seeks to devise a central city framework that recognises and further develops that role. Read More

WCC – ‘design’ competition

By Competition, EVENTS OTHER, News

Posted by the Council last week, this competition is open until the July 3 (details click here):

“Entrants are required to design an upgrade to a typical Council housing complex consisting of four bed-sit units, with a focus on making them more practical to live in for everyone, regardless of mobility or age [ie. people with disabilities]. Several small complexes with similar plans are currently being upgraded as part of the Council’s Housing Upgrade Project.”

With the first prize of $2000 (total pool of $4000), it sounds a little like a lot of advice for next to free, but then the point of competitions is the engagement with design issues, not just doing a Daniel Libeskind and getting famous… or is it?

Note: to students and other architectural types, you’ll need to have a registered architect to stamp your drawings.

Naked streets: the Dutch are doing it – why don’t we?

By RANTING, urban design

“Naked streets” or “Naked roads” – some even call them (more tamely) “Shared Spaces” – have apparently been around since the 1980s. Ā  Credited to Hans Monderman, the Naked street idea is based on a psychological approach which supports designing roads to reflect the different cognitive skills needed in different transport situations.Ā  Shared suburban spaces are contrasted to motorways and argued to need specific skills for their complex human context.Ā  This whole area of thinking has developed more formally into the field of “psychological” or “second generation traffic calming.” Read More