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Rhythm and ‘cues’

By Uncategorized


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 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.

Urban petitions (or the things we care about)…


Yay for participatory democracy…

Obviously, the demise of our green recycling bins matter, with almost 10 000 signatures already on the Council hosted ePetition¬†(how ick is that particular moniker?), which doesn’t close until May 13. This was one issue that spread like a virus through the pc’s of most Wellingtonians some weeks ago. I am unsure if there is a hard version of the petition as well…?

But, seeing as the Council¬†magnanimously¬†provides such a forum, we really should endeavour to make ourselves aware of the issues that are burning for our fellow citizens, and, in this very spirit, here are, along with the recycling bin issue, the current most significant matters… Read More

Transport Priorities

By Uncategorized

Kerry Williamson today revealed in the Dom Post the regional councils transport priorities.

That is to say those which they are petitioning the Government for assistance with.

The top Items, with budgets, are as follows:


Western Link Road stage 1 (Waikanae to Paraparaumu), $82 million.

State Highway 1 Basin Reserve upgrade and bus lanes improvement, $37 million.

Rail network improvements (including seven more trains, double-tracking, signalling and track upgrades), $177 million.

Western Link Road stage 3 (Paraparaumu to Raumati), $41 million.

SH2 Melling Interchange and Melling Bridge, $51 million.

Paraparaumu and Waikanae station upgrades, $15 million.

McKays Crossing to Paekakariki median barrier, $5 million.

SH2 Moonshine to Silverstream median barrier, $6 million


It’s good to see that there are a number of initiatives that relate to public transport but since when did the Basin Reserve fly-over become a done deal?

If that is the case then why don’t the council ask for the money for the second Mt Vic tunnel at the same time? At least that would demonstrate that they have a strategy for transport in that area.

Then again maybe we should wait until the Indoor Sports Centre is built on Cobham Drive and see if it results in any additional traffic using the existing Mt Vic tunnel.

Wind, billowing skirts, and Italian property investors…

By Uncategorized

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 More