Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Waterfront progress

The construction of Waitangi Park is not the only thing that's changing on the waterfront at the moment. Here's a quick round-up of a few recent and pending developments.


Work has finally started on the Site 7 building at Kumutoto. This "green building" will be the first substantial new building on the waterfront for over a decade, and combined with the public space improvements it should nicely complement the Steamship Wharf building and give a more appropriate expression to the mouth of the Kumutoto stream that once flowed down Woodward St.

Perimeter fence around Site 7 at Kumutoto
So far, they're just putting up a fence around the perimeter of the site (the actual building footprint will be a bit smaller than the area bounded by the fence). It's expected to open about the middle of next year.


Len Lye's Water Whirler, one of many public artworks underway in the city at the moment, is set to be installed between Waitangi Day and the opening of the Arts Festival. The pier looks like it's nearly complete now, and even without the Whirler itself it looks like an intriguing opportunity to get close to the water.

Len Lye's Water Whirler - pier nearing completion
One aspect of the site only recently struck me: the pier lines up exactly with Hunter St. That means that if you're standing on the corner of Lambton Quay by the Protoplasm sculpture (will they ever get around to replacing the "temporary" blue kites with the original "smarties"?) and looking down Hunter St you'll get a spectacular view of the Whirler. This is a great way to strengthen the visual connection between the Golden Mile and the waterfront.


Kaffee Eis opened last weekend in time for Vodafone X*Air, in the space formerly occupied by La Felicita beside the Albatross.

Kaffee Eis under Frank Kitts Park
In the meantime, what happened to the space around the corner that was to have been a fish and chip shop but turned into a juice bar instead? Glow's operation there seems to have shut down, though I've seen their branding around elsewhere. Never mind: Kaffee Eis are open late 7 days a week, serving Mojo coffee and the best gelato in town.


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