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

Friday, October 26, 2007

Frank Kitts Option C

Option C looks like a real wildcard:. In contrast to the slick presentation and hard lines of the other entries, it has a homespun look and messily organic structure that really stands out. It's also the only one that doesn't "incorporate" a Chinese Garden; instead, Chinese elements and feng shui principles are spread throughout the whole park.

Frank Kitts Park redesign - Option CI'm actually surprised how much I like it, given my modernist tendencies. It works hard to break down the monotony of the long promenade, and to bring the land into the water and vice versa. It restructures the carpark into a circular configuration, slightly reducing the total number of parks while setting a café into the northeast side of the raised area. It has a lot of detail and complexity, but within a strong organising framework that respects the city grid more than it seems at first glance. It appears to take Chinese, Maori and European cultural signifiers much more seriously than some of the entries, there's a lot of sheltered space, and it actually looks quite fun.

Frank Kitts Park redesign - Option C sectionSurprisingly, this may be the scheme that has the least open green space, since all of the yellow-shaded area seems to be hard landscaping. This may not appeal to those who want a game of football or to stage a big event, but it creates a lot of sheltered nooks and crannies for quiet contemplation and picnics. It plays around a lot with sinuous grass berms, to the extent of having one snaking up to the TSB Arena, though I doubt that it and a small stage would be enough to humanise the edge of such a nasty building.

But despite all that, and despite my guarded admiration for mad old hippies like Hundertwasser, this all looks too twee and Seventies for my liking. If it wasn't for some of the more technical accompanying diagrams, I'd have assumed this was a school project, and while it has some admirably inventive ideas (such as the curving breakwater and the dragon boat display cases) the plan as a whole looks too amateurish. There's something about all the circles, triangles and squiggles which, while full of symbolism and a nice change in some people's eyes, just seems to set up a discord with the urban context.


At 4:32 pm, October 26, 2007, Blogger Baz said...

But it must be great if it's based on Feng Shui Principles!

At 6:10 pm, October 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The geometetry looks all a bit twee to me, and bears little relationship to anything beyond the actual site. i do like the idea of bringing the water in however, but the execution suffers from the "fallacy of the plan" design mode...

At 7:36 pm, October 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also think this scheme bares little relationship to its context or Wellington and has a student look about it. Options B and C have too much lawn (as if there isn't enough at Wataingi already. I like all the areas to sit (work in the city -like lunch time places) and the playground (have 2 kids) of Option A. With the amount of use that the skate park and playground at Wataingi Park get at the weekend, a scheme that offers more for kids/youth is good. Also like all the connections in Option A. Can't believe one of the schemes (think it was Option C) keeps the existing southern stair - must be a cost saving but that is the worst access ever!!! Think the Gift scheme (think its Option E) is pretty interesting. Not sure about the red cubes though.

At 7:52 pm, October 26, 2007, Blogger Gregory said...

I spent a bunch of time this afternoon looking over the proposals for Frank Kitts and this was the only one that I absolutely hated. Admittedly, my main use of the space is limited, as an inline skater, but eliminating the sealed connection between Ferg's and Taranaki Wharf isn't a reasonable option. There remains the city side pathway, but it didn't appear to connect to the lagoon bridge. The waterfront is effectively sealed away from skate and cycle.

One thing that I did like about it, though, was the enclosure for the tea room. I can't say why it appealed, but it was pleasingly striking.

At 6:07 am, October 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...sheltered nooks and crannies for quiet contemplation and picnics..." Don't you mean for intravenous drug users and the homeless to quietly congregate? That is based on walking past the existing nooks and crannies late in the evening.....

At 2:20 pm, October 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kind of liked it.

Hey, does anyone know anything about that hotdog place? Ham Bone or something (can't remember the name) round the corner from Cafe Eis. I've only seen it open once. Heard that it had same owner as that gallery cafe in civic square and that it was open at their convenience?

At 5:32 pm, October 29, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

Greg: "eliminating the sealed connection between Ferg's and Taranaki Wharf isn't a reasonable option"

I can't say for sure, but I think that the yellow spaces on the plan are some sort of paving, so it should still be possible to skate or cycle right along the promenade (though it does get a bit fiddly in the middle).

Marc: "Don't you mean for intravenous drug users and the homeless to quietly congregate?"

It's a dilemma all right: how to create sheltered, intimate spaces without making them unappealing or dangerous at night for most people. I don't think it's something you can solve through design, only through keeping it busy.

Anon: "Hey, does anyone know anything about that hotdog place? Ham Bone or something"

Raw Hide. It does have very unpredictable hours, though I have seen it open more than that. Certainly, if the forecast is bad they don't bother opening, and at other times it's been inexplicably closed. I would be surprised if it were the same owners as Nikau, given the difference in style, but I haven't heard anything about it.

At 11:23 am, October 30, 2007, Blogger Gregory said...

Tom: "though it does get a bit fiddly in the middle".

I'm generally happy to skate over most reasonable surfaces, but the number of novice skaters through the area should be kept in mind. I've been working with a few people who can't make it to the other side of the lagoon safely. Between the elevation of one side of the bridge and the anti-slip material on the other side, it's a hazard for some. To add more fiddly bits along the way may dispose of the one path that we can safely recommend to novices as outdoor practice space.


Post a Comment

<< Home