It's a competitive world
Here's a quick round-up of some recent and upcoming architectural competitions.
The Road Works winners were announced last night, and it was interesting to note that my entry was not the only one to ignore the MCH-sanctioned plan to move Buckle St closer to Mt Cook School: in fact, everyone rejected that in favour of a bridge, trench or simply leaving the road where it is. I didn't get a chance to note down the names of the winning team (I hope to rectify that soon), but here's some blurry photos of their scheme, which was one of the most subtle and sensible ones on offer.
This scheme follows the history of excavation of Mt Cook, forming a crater-like amphitheatre between the Carillion and the school. The one really controversial aspect of this is that the road enters this gentle dip and goes through a 10kph "shared zone" for both cars and pedestrians. For major events, State Highway 1 would have to be closed, which is an intentional aspect of the scheme's investigation of the concept of "interference" between stillness and movement. But can you imagine Transit's reaction?
Following up from this, on August 10th the brief will be announced for another, much more wide-ranging competition. This one will be called ABC - Connection Through to the City, and is intended to "raise the level of debate about transport movements and the relationship between transport and urban spaces". Buckle St will once again be part of the focus, since it examines the vital connections from the airport to the city and beyond. The entries will be displayed during IntensCITY Week, of which I will say much more later.
The winner of the Kumutoto public toilets competition has also been decided, and while I've been told what it is, it's not supposed to be public knowledge until Wellington Waterfront Ltd have had a chance to assess its physical and financial viability. What I can say is that the winning scheme looks damned good, and as far as I'm aware there's really nothing quite like it in New Zealand architecture.
And speaking of Kumutoto, at the moment half of the city's architects will be furiously putting the finishing touches on their entries for sites 8, 9 and 10. This is the next area of the waterfront set for some big, and with any luck, exciting changes, and while it should all be in line with the long-standing masterplan and design brief for the area, I'm looking forward to seeing the specific designs for the buildings and public space. Not all of the final uses for those buildings will have been determined yet, and with the Draft Waterfront Development Plan currently undergoing consultation, now might be a good time to push for specific ground floor uses, such as an indoor sports centre. I'll be writing more on the subject soon.