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

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meridian media

Meridian building at KumutotoThe Meridian building has been getting a lot of media love since it was officially opened yesterday, with video clips on TV1 and TV3 news, and a major article in today's Dominion Post. Meridian have also set up a website specifically for the building, though all it has so far is one video (Update: this is now fully operational, and has some useful content about the ESD features in the building).

All the news interest has centred on its environmental features, and justifiably so, for it seems to be truly innovative. The only article I've seen so far that assesses it aesthetically is in the latest edition of Architecture NZ (not online), which is generally full of praise but quibbles about the "busyness" of some of the detailing, such as the quasi-random wooden slats and the projecting bay on the harbour side. Now, I'm enough of a Modernist that I would have liked it without them, since it would have been a sleek and elegant minimalist building; but the details give it a sense of personality, scale and warmth that makes it even better.

Meridian building - 'bay window' detailIt's a bit too early to properly assess it from an urbanist point of view, so I'll wait until the ground floor tenants are in (I've read that Mojo were planning to open in November, but that seems a little optimistic) and the public space to the north has been completed. All of the signs are good though: all except a few metres of the perimeter have active edges; there's plenty of detail to engage human interest; and its L-shaped plan seems just right to create well-defined and sheltered spaces around it. If all of that turns out as planned, this could be Welllington's best new building in a long, long time.


At 11:46 am, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Meridian website on the building is up and running. You can take a virtual tour, see how the technology works and listen to video interviews. Good stuff and worth a look.


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