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

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

So so modern

Wellington Architecture Week 2005, a collaboration between the Architectural Centre, the NZ Insitute of Architects, the Historic Places Trust and Docomomo NZ, starts on Monday. This year the focus seems to be very much on the classic era of post-war modernism from the 40s to the 70s. The self-guided walking tour extends from the glorious swoop of the Freyberg Pool, via the quirky Racing Conference building, the elegantly Corbusian Massey House and the infamous Beehive to the discreet and relatively little-known Lilburn House in Thorndon. There's also a tour of the sleek 1950's buildings of central Lower Hutt, showing that despite the baleful impact of modernist planning on the suburb, there is a legacy of quality architecture there.

For the full schedule, see the Architecture Centre website (in HTML or as an 8MB PDF) or pick up a brochure at the Library or various other venues. Here are some of the things that I'm particularly looking forward to:

Friday 30th September: It's not strictly part of Architecture Week, but there's a foretaste this Friday lunchtime with Ian Athfield giving a talk at the City Gallery on "45 Years Of Learning To Be An Architect".

Tuesday 4th October: The Shape of the City, a public debate on the changing face of Wellington. This could get messy! 6pm at Rutherford House.

Detail of PSIS Investment House, Whitmore StThursday 6th October: Chris Kelly, director of the ar+d award-winning practice Architecture Workshop and shortlisted for the Waitangi Precinct competition. Update: Chris Kelly and competition collaborator Kerstin Thompson will also be speaking about their Waitangi entry on Tuesday night, conveniently clashing with the Shape of the City debate!

Saturday 8th October: This is the biggest day of the week, with open practices, open projects and Latte, Lunch and Harry, a discussion of the role that Parsons coffee shop and bookshop played in Wellington's cultural life (book at Parsons: get in quick!). There's also the intriguing-sounding Draw Wellington, a "spontaneous performance, interactive architectural drawing event" to be held at five sites throughout the city.

Sunday 9th October: Ian Bowman guides a walking tour through Lower Hutt (Walking? In the Hutt?!?) to point out modernist gems amid the megastores and carparks.

There's plenty more going on, including exhibitions at various galleries and an architectural film festival at the Penthouse cinema: much more than I can list here.


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