Kumutoto Option C
Option C consists of one continuous structure, the one that in earlier posts became known as "the conniptions building". This rendering should make the reason clear: if Waterfront Watchers lament four-storey "high rises" elsewhere on the waterfront, what will they make of this 18-storey "A Tower"?
Instead of leaving the Whitmore St viewshaft completely open, it sets out to create a frame for it. Instead of building on all three sites, it leaves site 8 as a lawn and creates continuous, elongated buildings on sites 9 and 10 that rear up and join together like amorous serpents. The result is a megastructure, complete with elevated viewing deck, conference centre and galleria, that sets out to break down the distinctions between public and private; landscape and building.
The chances of this being selected are vanishingly small: it departs from the framework and brief so radically that even if it were appropriate for the site (and even I have my doubts), opponents of waterfront development would be right to question the process. I think it's an exciting concept, but it would be so structurally and politically difficult that it would be hard to see anyone fighting for it. It's also not a completely resolved design: the swoops from ground into tower are grand and graceful, but the tower terminates so abruptly that the soaring momentum is lost. A better expression of the upwards sweep could conceivably have created a much more compelling design, one that might have justified breaking all the rules in order to get built. As it is, I don't think it's worth it.
Nevertheless, this is one of the most thoroughly thought-through entries of the lot. It's hard to tell from the posters, but a lot of analysis has gone into the design: city grid, sea wall, tacking lines, view lines and all sorts of considerations of city-wide planning have fed into the concepts behind this scheme. It explicitly addresses the problem of the specified plots being too small to generate a sense of urban continuity, and encourages further connections to the capital precinct. More of this sort of thoughtfulness and daring would be most welcome in other parts of the city (Harbour Quays, for example), and while I don't think it will work here, I admire it for its provocation.