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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Where's Whare?

The latest newsletter from Wellington Waterfront Ltd includes an update on landscaping work at Taranaki St Wharf West. The first stage starts in a few weeks time and should take about six weeks, and will involve converting the 8 metre high mound into a 1.5 metre high sloping lawn, with a wide pedestrian thoroughfare between Jervois Quay and the wharf. The second stage will link the Ambulance building with Taranaki St Wharf while temporarily asphalting the site of the proposed wharewaka, and should be ready by the start of November.

Hold on, I thought, wasn't the plan supposed to have the wharenui there, while the wharewaka goes over the water next to the City-to-Sea bridge? Must be a typo.

But now the agenda for next Monday's Waterfront Development Subcommittee meeting makes it clear: as some rumours had hinted, the Tenths Trust had decided not to proceed with the wharenui, and to revise the location of the wharewaka. This, combined with the requirement to supply the rowing clubs with 22 carparks, has resulted in a revised design brief (55kB PDF) and associated report (58kB BDF) that could conceivably see some significant changes to the plans for this area.

They won't be massively different, since they have to stay within the existing resource consent and the changes to the mound are definitely going ahead, but the connections to the City-to-Sea bridge are also up for review. The wharewaka will probably go approximately where the wharenui would have been, and may also include a live craft studio, a gallery of Māori art and a café, so it looks like it's just the ceremonial and functions facilities of the wharenui that will be dropped. It's all still pretty vague, since it's only a design brief not a finished design, so: watch this space.


At 9:24 AM, September 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are your feelings with regard to the 'mound'?

I can see that it would provide a greater sense of connection to the city if it weren't there, but I love the accidental nature of it, and the way it is able to be utilised for different events. I think it is a little sad to see a piece of urban whimsy flattened for another hard/contemporary 'Athfieldesque' urban space...

At 12:48 PM, September 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm outraged that the honkies in the Rowing Club have ousted the wharenui. Shame on you racist twits who can't back a trailer.

At 1:29 PM, September 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same parking space argument seems to be being played out at the overseas terminal/chaffers marina - no "bros with tinnies" in sight. But apparently latte drinkers are fair game.

At 1:39 PM, September 01, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

anon 1: my feelings have always been mixed. I've always thought that it was too big and steep, spoiling the space by the ambulance building and making the connection between the bridge and Te Papa very awkward. On the other hand, having some sort of sloping lawn here is great for events like Hexstatic and Hula Laguna. I would have liked a bit more slope retained: say, about 3m rather than 1.5m. I remember at one stage wondering whether the wharewaka could have been built into the mound, with a path curving over the top then over the road. Very Hundertwasser!

anon 2: I hadn't heard anything about the wharenui being stopped by the rowing clubs, and I thought the terms of resolution were still feasible for the wharenui (though not ideal for pedestrian use of the wharf). What I had heard was that the Tenths Trust (who were the sole funders of the project) were having second thoughts about the costs. That would explain the functions of the wharenui and wharewaka being consolidated into one building, though there was an article at the start of this year saying that the wharewaka construction had already started, so the change of plans might result in some wasted effort.

At 1:44 PM, September 01, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

anon 3: there does seem to be a Clarksonesque "good jokers" element among the yachties. Of course there needs to be enough parking to allow the marina to function, but as I said before, for them to demand that there be one permanent carpark for every berth would be completely and utterly inappropriate for the inner city.


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