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Speaker: The Architecture of Elsewhere

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  • Ana Simkiss,

    Hello Patrick, are you Patrick Reynolds the photographer found @ http://www.patrickreynolds.co.nz ?

    As a recent returnee to Auckland I'm fairly disgusted with what's been built in my absence, with a (very) few honourable exceptions. I walk through the future slums of Hobson Street every morning and afternoon and I live with an architect so I am acutely aware of the (to generalise) lack of value placed on design by developers, builders and the public.

    GJ Gardner, anyone?

    On a related note Metro magazine had an excellent article this month about the Queen's Wharf debacle. I disagreed with the conclusions by the writer, whose name I have forgotten (Simon something?) but he gave an excellent account of Bank's rather meretricious behaviour.

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    The thing is, when it was decided to build an opera house in Sydney, they wanted a large venue for the performing arts, not an iconic waterfront building.

    Likewise, the Guggenheim Bilbao is a museum, as well as being an interesting building.

    It seems like Banks and co are looking at things backwards. They just want an a-maz-ing building on the waterfront because, um, isn't that what you're supposed to do if you're a world-class city, right?

    It seems like no one's actually given any thought to what, if any, use the building would actually have, apart from looking quite interesting.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1861 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    And speaking of NZ architecture (or lack thereof) I've become really disturbed at how many new houses are built in the style of 1930s state houses.

    It's like if it's not a three-bedroom bungalow with a steep roof, then it's not a proper building.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1861 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I've become really disturbed at how many new houses are built in the style of 1930s state houses.

    I'll blame the bean counters for that too.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6261 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Iconic architecture is easy. You just design a building that looks like something else which is not a building. Then everybody who knows nothing about architecture will love it. The Sydney Opera House looks like sails, Prince's Wharf looks like ships, the Sky Tower looks like a big pointy thing. You can turn it up a notch by making it look indigenous: the Manukau Pacific Events Centre is an epic fale.

    The theory is that the iconic building brings the tourists to your yard. However, since every city in the world has got on this bus, the theory may not work any longer.

    Rather than following Bilbao, it might be better to look at Barcelona, which recognises that it has old buildings of architectural quality and demands that new buildings are well designed. However, this idea would not work in Auckland, since most of our old buildings already have been knocked down.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    but who still hold sway in this last outpost of twentieth century thinking.

    Hold on, your not saying that................NZ is......that......
    But..... the PM said......... and a prospective super mayor said........
    I'm flabbergasted...........

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1227 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    And let us not forget the new Supreme Court building, opened this very day by Prince William the Balding. Apparently, it is a tree, a Pohutakawa. This probably explains why it looks crap. If you want to produce good architecture, you have to think about buildings, not about other things. It is not just a matter of keeping your mind on the task at hand, but also one of designing architecturally rather than making ghastly things that look like other things, like Gaudi did.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Okay...
    there are a lot of people who don't have much money but try to build interesting buildings.

    And there are plenty of people with lots of money who build crap buildings.

    While I sympathise with Patrick's position, 80% of most things are crap and there's only the rest that's any good (as usual, statistics made up on the spot).

    Blame the developers and blame the council for letting them do shit. As usual, CitRats mismanagement of Auckland for the past 70 years gives us what we have. And a culture of building stuff that will maximise short-term return, not long term value.

    I hope most people saw the irony in Banksie's message.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    While I sympathise with Patrick's position, 80% of most things are crap and there's only the rest that's any good (as usual, statistics made up on the spot).

    Sturgeon's Law - only more optimistic...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    It seems like no one's actually given any thought to what, if any, use the building would actually have, apart from looking quite interesting.

    Parking, surely?

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • wendyf,

    How about a giant Buzzy Bee? The alert would savour the verbal connection with Wellington's beehive.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wellingtonians were were a bit resentful at losing the park on Lambton Quay where the new court building is and we have watched the bronze spiderwebby thing evolve. But sparkling in the sun and the centre of attention today, it looked innovative and local - like our new supreme court of Aotearoa/New Zealand should be. And you can look in from outside and see the judges doing their judging.

    So now tourists have three buildings to photograph while rotating at the cenotaph - the Beehive (which I'm a fan of), the Old Government Building, and now the court.

    By the way there is a buzzy bee on a post pointing at the Beehive next to the OGB.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2095 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Yes, I was just going to write that about the bee! And quite frankly I think the Supreme Court building is a fine building indeed.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    How about a giant Buzzy Bee? The alert would savour the verbal connection with Wellington's beehive.

    Better still, how about a giant statue of Ed Hillary in his bee-keeping days, with smoke-maker in hand..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I think the Supreme Court building is a fine building indeed.

    Looked good at first glance. Everyone on telly news seemed to be hung up on the metalwork, though.

    I have a different concern. In this day and age, why does the building seem to have steps all along its main entrance?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    We tend, in New Zealand, to imagine that architecture happens elsewhere. And with our rather smug anti-elitism we congratulate ourselves for this. For it is a sign of our sensibleness, our moderation, our lack of pretension. A shadow cast, perhaps, by the belief that ours is an egalitarian society.

    I'm not sure you can generalise as broadly as this. In Christchurch, for example, it is very widely understood that the Gothic revival buildings designed by Benjamin Mountfort are great architecture -- which is why the city also has great parochial stoushes anytime someone, even Miles Warren, wants to modify them or pull them down. Hence the current Arts Centre stoush. I'd also say that the modernist buildings -- homes, commercial buildings and public buildings -- designed in the city a century later by Warren, Beaven and others are also recognised as architecture, even if they are not yet as widely loved as those from the Gothic era.

    It's likely that residents of other New Zealand cities that weren't as flattened during the 1980s of speculation and development as Auckland and Wellington were feel similarly about their architectural traditions.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Wellingtonians were were a bit resentful at losing the park on Lambton Quay where the new court building is and we have watched the bronze spiderwebby thing evolve.

    Well, I'm more pissed off by the millions that wouldn't have needed to be spent if the old High Court building has been properly maintained in the first place. Talk about penny wise and pound foolish, though I guess I should be thankful it wasn't in such a state demolition was the only option...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Isaacson,

    It seems like no one's actually given any thought to what, if any, use the building would actually have, apart from looking quite interesting.

    Exactly what they did in Britain with the Millenium Dome. The contents seemed to come as an afterthought, so what could have been an inspiring piece of architecture was written off as a white elephant.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    It's likely that residents of other New Zealand cities that weren't as flattened during the 1980s of speculation and development as Auckland and Wellington were feel similarly about their architectural traditions.

    If it wasn't for Robert McGregor and a few others here in Napier all our Art Deco buildings would have been pulled down to be replaced by faceless modern stuff. His work with the Art Deco trust has led to a tourist attracting architectural point of difference for Napier culminating in the Art Deco weekend every year. It's also led to newer buildings taking on an Art Deco style in keeping with the surrounding architecure.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Sacha - first thing I checked out. There is a good ramp there to the front door but you can't quite see it till you get close up. Building will hopefully be exemplary from an accessibility point of view.
    Craig - the old High Court has been nicely restored too behind this new building and part of the same complex, but I think it was too small by itself for today's purposes.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2095 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Iconic architecture is easy. You just design a building that looks like something else which is not a building.

    Britomart station seems determined to be a native forest, and is perhaps even embarrassed to be one of those horrible, manmade, land-raping buildings.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1861 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Exactly what they did in Britain with the Millenium Dome. The contents seemed to come as an afterthought, so what could have been an inspiring piece of architecture was written off as a white elephant.

    And then it was kitted out and renamed the O2 Arena, and its location and general awesomeness is apparently one of the reasons why live music is so popular and lucrative these days.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1861 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Better still, how about a giant statue of Ed Hillary in his bee-keeping days, with smoke-maker in hand..

    Please, make that image go away.

    It's also led to newer buildings taking on an Art Deco style in keeping with the surrounding architecure.

    The Art Deco Trust has killed architecture in Napier, so that everything that is built must be a pastiche of a pastiche. Art Deco is not even a style.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Re Christchurch, Peter Beaven said that it was the only city in New Zealand where architecture is practised rather than undertaken. Christchurch benefits from an architectural tradition; its buildings are of high quality and it is not afraid of the Modern. Its architects were taught by their elders. It has a community which is concerned with the city centre.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig - the old High Court has been nicely restored too behind this new building and part of the same complex, but I think it was too small by itself for today's purposes.

    I do know that, and you don't have to be an expert conservation architect or engineer to realise you can't bring up to code a century old building that's been empty for sixteen years for the price of a packet of gum. But all the same, I do have to wonder how much of the $15 million over the initial estimates (which the Justice Ministry says was required largely because of unexpected costs in renovating the old building), could have been avoided if the old High Court had been properly looked after in the first place. I know ugly is in the eye of the beholder, but before I left Wellington it was sad seeing how shabby it had become.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

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