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

Friday, December 09, 2005

Waterfront positivity

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I'm in a good mood today, so I won't let John Macalister's snideness get to me, nor Jack Ruben's histrionic overreaction to the genuinely disappointing news that Waitangi Park is over budget. Instead, here's some good stuff that's happening on the waterfront.

Shed 11The "Urban Life - a Celebration in Art" competition has reached the shortlist stage, and the shortlisted works are on display at Shed 11 until next Wednesday (the 14th). The works are also online, but you really need to see the physical exhibition to appreciate some of the pieces, especially the handful of multimedia and installation works. The range is much more diverse than I expected, and the Wellington-based works are particularly interesting for us parochial locals.

While you're in the vicinity, you'll notice that One Red Dog is almost, nearly, just about, kind of about to think about getting ready to open. I know it's looked that way for months, but surely it can't be long now? While I don't usually get excited about the opening of a pizza chain, any new drinking and dining opportunities on the waterfront are worth a try, and it looks like it'll be a good place in the sun. It'll be even nicer once the Kumutoto open spaces are revamped around it, as there will be some trees and grassy spaces between it and Shed 11 (see the public space masterplan - 1.8MB PDF).

Len Lye Water Whirler displayIf you wander south to Queens Wharf and Shed 6, you'll notice that the Waterfront Project Information Centre is plastered with signs reading "LEN LYE". This is because they currently have a small exhibition about Len Lye's Water Whirler sculpture that's currently under construction around the corner. There's a video showing the way the wand and water jets are intended to move: it's only since seeing this that I've been able to grasp how complex and graceful it's going to be, and I think that this will probably be the most significant of the many new sculptures and art works that are under way in Wellington.

While you're there, take a look at the models and displays about Waitangi Park, if you haven't already. Take a copy of the brochure, walk around to the park site (you can now walk around the front of Te Papa again - finally!) and imagine. The site may look barren and full of concrete now, but bear in mind that most of the planting is yet to begin. Look at the map (1.1MB PDF) and imagine it with tree-lined promenades, a wind garden, reedy wetlands, indigenous coastal plantings and a wide grassy field (to be sown within a fortnight), set off by UN Studio and John Wardle's sculptural buildings, and you'll get a better impression of what an asset Wellington will have when it's finished.


At 1:29 am, December 10, 2005, Blogger Miramar Mike said...

Awesome work ... and yes, I am very jealous of what is and can happen in that city


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