I haven't posted much recently on WellUrban's core concerns (architecture and urbanism), but normal service should resume shortly. The usual start-of-month posts on Drink of the Month and the preceding roundup, combined with a new mystery bar (that no-one's attempted to guess yet), have taken up some of my time, but I've also been busy with the Second Annual Wellingtonista Awards (dubbed "the AWAs"). There was an absolutely stonking awards party on Thursday: ridiculously glamorous photos are available on MLR and on Flickr via Jo Hubris, begilejapan and variasian; and write-ups can be found on Hard News and the many blogs linked to by Miramar Mike. It took a while for enough of us to recover from the festivities to post the results, which are now fully online and generating controversy already. Here's a bit more detail on the most WellUrban-ish of the categories.
Best Building: for the second year running, the Wellington City Library took out the award, thus proving that this is one example of late Postmodernism that has aged surprisingly well. The Meridian building wasn't that far behind, though, and given that (unlike the library) the general public hasn't had a chance to spend time inside it, I'd like to think that it's well on the way to establishing itself as a Wellington favourite and a benchmark for new architecture in the city.
Best Public Space: this was one of the most-answered questions in the survey, with nearly 600 votes overall. It was also much closer, and while the Botanic Gardens was the winner, Oriental Bay wasn't far behind, followed quite closely by Cuba Mall and Waitangi Park. I was quite surprised that Midland Park came in a very distant last, but I guess it's not a destination space, and now that I'm no longer working nearby I can't imagine myself spending much time there.
Best Public Art: this category was won by a cluster of sculptures rather than a single piece: the Meridian Energy Wind Sculpture Walk along Cobham Drive. It only just beat the "Left Bank Gallery" aka Graffiti Alley (which was the scene of some very unusual activity over the weekend - I'll write more about that soon), and while I voted for the Alley myself, it's good to recognise the great work that the Wellington Sculpture Trust has been putting in. In fact, the only reason that the trust couldn't have someone there to receive their award was that they were busy unveiling their latest contribution to Wellington's public space: Regan Gentry's Green Islands sculptures on the plinths outside Te Papa.
Most Needed: this was a very broad category, covering everything from bars and shops to infrastructure. The winner by a huge margin, with nearly twice as many votes as its nearest rival, was light rail to the airport. Of course this wasn't a scientific survey, but someone should tell the council as they consider transport options to the airport that 248 out of 544 people voted for light rail. Second place went to "a 24-hour diner", and I'll be willing to push that up the priority list given our post-awards dining debacle.