Wrong building, wrong place
It's no secret that I'm generally in favour of density and high-rise living, as my cautious defence of the planned 8-storey complex at 158 Cuba St would indicate. But there are some developments on the way that get it wrong in so many ways that it's time to step back and consider better alternatives.
For instance, have a look at "Q on Taranaki", an apartment complex that's rumoured to be planned for the corner of Taranaki and Frederick streets. I first found it via SkyscraperCity, but there's a whole series of images on the architects' website. There are some vaguely interesting angles on the sliding screens and balconies, but otherwise this pair of unimaginative eleven-storey rectangles is grindingly dull and completely out of place.
The old Murdoch pickle factory that's currently on the corner is hardly an architectural gem, but it's an increasingly rare reminder of Te Aro's light industrial past. At least they've kept the Chinese Mission church, though it's hemmed in so unthinkingly by these brutes that some might say they needn't have bothered. Either one of the towers will be considerably taller and arguably uglier than the sludge-brown apartments on the other corner, so imagine two of these along Frederick St.
There's some hope that this is just a speculative series of drawings, as some of the council people I've spoken to haven't seen it, and apparently the land owner hasn't even sold the site yet. But I'm told that what's planned for the old Forest & Bird building across the road (the Art Deco one with the famous mural) is even more hideous. With so many car yards and single-storey big box stores on Taranaki St, it seems that the development of Te Aro, while arguably good for the life of the city, is going to need something resembling actual "planning" if it's not going to be an aesthetic disaster.