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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Where's Whare?

The latest newsletter from Wellington Waterfront Ltd includes an update on landscaping work at Taranaki St Wharf West. The first stage starts in a few weeks time and should take about six weeks, and will involve converting the 8 metre high mound into a 1.5 metre high sloping lawn, with a wide pedestrian thoroughfare between Jervois Quay and the wharf. The second stage will link the Ambulance building with Taranaki St Wharf while temporarily asphalting the site of the proposed wharewaka, and should be ready by the start of November.

Hold on, I thought, wasn't the plan supposed to have the wharenui there, while the wharewaka goes over the water next to the City-to-Sea bridge? Must be a typo.

But now the agenda for next Monday's Waterfront Development Subcommittee meeting makes it clear: as some rumours had hinted, the Tenths Trust had decided not to proceed with the wharenui, and to revise the location of the wharewaka. This, combined with the requirement to supply the rowing clubs with 22 carparks, has resulted in a revised design brief (55kB PDF) and associated report (58kB BDF) that could conceivably see some significant changes to the plans for this area.

They won't be massively different, since they have to stay within the existing resource consent and the changes to the mound are definitely going ahead, but the connections to the City-to-Sea bridge are also up for review. The wharewaka will probably go approximately where the wharenui would have been, and may also include a live craft studio, a gallery of Māori art and a café, so it looks like it's just the ceremonial and functions facilities of the wharenui that will be dropped. It's all still pretty vague, since it's only a design brief not a finished design, so: watch this space.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Update: ignore this post, since the talk has just been cancelled due to Ben van Berkel's illness.

This Sunday, Dutch architect Ben van Berkel will give a free public lecture at the Wellington Town Hall. As a high-profile and innovative architect, he is bound to give an intriguing presentation, but the chief interest for Wellingtonians will be that his firm UN Studio won the design competition for a public building at site 4 between Te Papa and Waitangi Park.

UN studio design for Te Papa transition building
The form and materials of this proposal evoke all sorts of imagery, from seagulls to ships, but while walking along the waterfront recently I noticed something else that its spreading white anvil shape reminded me of: a cumulonimbus cloud.

A cumulonimbus cloud seen across Wellington harbour
The talk is called Design Models, a title that it shares with UN Studio's new monograph Design Models: Architecture Urbanism Infrastructure, which is due for release next week. The 'design models' in question are the five conceptual methods that serve as points of departure for all their project types. The talk runs from 4pm to 5:30pm, this Sunday 3rd September, in the main auditorium of the Town Hall.

Building rumours 2: 218-228 Cuba St

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First of all, some updates on previous rumours.

According to yesterday's DomPost, Chris Parkin actually sold the A-mart site a few days before the fire. So, it's unlikely to become an extension of the adjacent Museum Hotel (yes, that was the Mystery Bar), but questions remain: who now owns it, and what are the plans?

The DomPost also confirmed that the apartment development on the former Settlement site (that I was so snarky about before) is going ahead. It will be 12 storeys, with 80 hotel rooms, 24 three-bedroom apartments, 6 office suites, 44 duplex apartments with attached offices, and retail at ground level. In that respect, it's a paragon of mixed use in a part of town that suits high density. But why does it have to be so pig ugly?

The comments on my previous Building Rumours post suggest that the Vivian/Jessie St site will be temporarily used for a car park before being turned into a multi-purpose community facility by the Salvation Army next door. We also got a hint that the Victoria/Walter St site will be a Master Trades showroom, and it looks like 301 Willis St will become a HirePool. What was that about the end of light industry in Te Aro?

Now it's time to ask the gravevine about another site that's seeing some preliminary activity. As I mentioned last year, the large site at 218-228 Cuba St was being promoted as "an outstanding development opportunity in the heart of the fashionable and growing Cuba Street precinct ... present[ing] a multitude of development angles including retail, office, apartments and parking development."

So what do we now have in the heart of this fashionable street? A branch of El Cheapo cars!

(temporary?) El Cheapo cars on Cuba St
There hasn't been a lot of structural work done for this (a fence and a Portacabin, to be precise), recently there have been stories about tough times for the used car industry, and their website doesn't mention a Cuba St branch. All of which suggests to me that this is only a temporary situation and that other plans may be in the offing. Does anyone have any hints about what might be planned for the site? And will the famous Wellington Trawling Sea Market survive?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Celluloid architecture

These days it seem like there's a specialist film festival for every taste and interest: human rights, vegetables, silent films and even Phoenix dactylifera. There's even one for architecture buffs, and the Wellington season starts at the Penthouse this Friday.

The Jasmax Film Festival, subtitled "Celebrating Architecture", shows documentaries about individual architects and buildings, but also more general films about urbanism and sustainability. Of the films on show, the ones that sound most intriguing to me are Building the Gherkin (about Norman Foster's astonishing London skyscraper), Lagos/Koolhaas (which will no doubt feature Rem Koolhaas drooling all over Africa's maddest city) and Regular or Super (concentrating on Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, but with a broader interest in architectural language and the role of the architect in society).

It's a little known fact that Mies was fond of a Martini, which is not surprising given that drink's celebration of icy clarity and obsessive attention to detail. I wonder whether he believed that Less is More when it comes to Vermouth?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Back on track: derailed?

While nature seems to be doing its best to destroy the Johnsonville rail line, the Dominion Post is giving it a bit of a helping hand. Their headline on Saturday (not online) about the North Wellington Transport Study says "Rail service under threat", the subheading says "Support for plan to replace Johnsonville railway line with bus route", and a sidebar is headed "Glory days long gone". All of this seems to give an air of inevitable demise, especially when combined with the disappointing fact that a measly 56 of the 1606 respondents supported a light rail extension.

Except that's not a fact: there were actually 456 light rail supporters. Let's give the Dom Post the benefit of the doubt and put it down to a typo and poor proofreading (hooray for quality print journalism!), but the tenor of the article is at odds with the actual press release from the regional council, which refrains from jumping to conclusions such as "Another rail service faces the axe, with a public survey finding widespread support for ripping up the Johnsonville line and replacing it with a bus service".

Let's look at that "widespread support" in more detail. First of all, it wasn't a "public survey", but a submissions process, and thus it reflects the views of those with the time, energy and passion to put in a submission, rather than being a true snapshot of public opinion. And in this case there's a factor that massively influenced people's ease of submitting: the Bus and Coach Association ran an aggressive campaign that included handing out pro-forma submission forms. The DomPost does mention that "most" of the pro-busway submissions came on those forms, but doesn't mention that it's an overwhelming majority: 87%.

That doesn't mean that you can ignore the opinions of those who used the campaigners' form, but even the city and regional councils, who haven't exactly gained a reputation for being rabidly pro-rail, are suspicious. As Regional Councillor Glen Evans said:
We accept the sincerity of the views put forward on the "Support the Busway" form, however the form does not include the information available on the standard consultation form. For example, the standard form allows you to comment on other scenarios, the Bus and Coach form does not.

And it goes without saying that the form omitted to mention the downsides of the busway (changing direction every 12 hours, increasing congestion in the CBD etc). Here's the full breakdown of submissions, both for and against, from the Regional Council's website:

Submissions on the North Wellington Transport Study
You'll notice that the councils were concerned enough about the Bus and Coach form that they've separated them out from other pro-busway responses. Take those out, and you get a very different picture indeed! Of course you can't take them out entirely, but if you give them a weight of half that of a submission from someone who was presented with balanced arguments and had to go out of their way to make themselves heard, it's no longer the preferred option. It's also noteworthy that apart from the ridiculous "nothing" option (i.e. replacing the railway with a walking/cycling track, so that there's no public transport at all along the line), the busway option got by far the most opposition.

You can also see that the pro-rail support was split between the rail and light rail options. You can't quite add the two together, because each submitter was able to support more than one option, but all of a sudden the "widespread support for ripping up the Johnsonville line" looks very shaky indeed. Combine this with support for light rail along the Ngauranga to Airport corridor, and it it's clear that the pro-rail movement has much more support than the DomPost article suggests.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mystery bar number 40

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At the risk of overdoing the boozy theme this week, it's time for another mystery bar. Last week's didn't take long to identify, which is not surprising since it's just opened in a high-profile location. An anonymous commenter identified it as Boss, which has taken over both Diva and the old La Casa Pasta upstairs. Diva closed quite some time ago (last year, I think). The transformation has taken a long, long time: possibly due to the installation of 7 acoustically-isolated karaoke booths upstairs, and partly because the redesign is the work of, ahem, enthusiastic amateurs.

Mystery bar #40 - sofasThis week's mystery bar is much more professional, and yet it still has a decor that is eclectic, verging on the eccentric. The studded leather sofas hint at gentlemen's club conservatism; gaudy chandeliers and shimmering curtains steer more towards grandiose Trumpery; surrealist artworks speak of conspicuous connoisseurship; and a monograph on Gaudí has been left casually on a table to signify that the intended clientele seeks the unconventional in art in architecture. On the other hand, the exterior of the building has an austerity that makes the syncretic oddity within all the more surprising.

Mystery bar #40 - chandelierThe location, in a part of town that has been rapidly improving, could be something really special. The narrow windows emphasise privacy rather than openness, but there are plans for this establishment to take more advantage of the view. As a bar it's fairly unambitious at the moment, with a short (though expensive) wine list and little pretense to be a cocktail bar. But if the expansion plans of its high-profile owner go ahead, this could make a very important contribution to the streetscape and fill a gap in the hospitality map.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bar wars

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The Capital Times has begun its 2006 Best of Wellington survey (which is now online), inviting readers to vote for their favourite things under dozens of categories. However, one category is glaringly absent: best bar. They have best barman, barmaid, music venue and nightclub, but no bar (or best Martini, for that matter).

Maybe the inaugural NZ Bar Awards will settle that debate. The ceremony was held last night in Auckland, but as far as I can tell the results are yet to be released (at least as far as the Interweb's concerned). I was afraid that it would be very Auckland-centric, but as the nominations (880kB PDF) were concerned, Wellington came out quite well. We had 10 bars up for 19 nominations, which compares favourably on a per-capita basis with Auckland's 21 bars and 30 nominations. The difference in bars-to-nominations ratio probably hints that while we don't have a huge number of top bars, those we have do a lot of things very well (especially cocktail lists).

Here's a list of the Wellington bars, and what they were nominated for (update: I've highlighted the winners):

Matterhorn (bar, bar team, drinks selection, cocktail list)
Motel (bar team, cocktail bar, drinks selection, cocktail list)
Good Luck (bar, bar team, cocktail list)
Boulôt (new bar, cocktail list)
Havana (bar)
Arbitrageur (wine bar)
Vivo (wine bar)
Boogie Wonderland (nightclub)
Sandwiches (nightclub)
Hope Bros (pub)

So, it's mostly the usual suspects, but with a couple of surprises. I'm sure there are plenty of you with strong objections (I'd have picked Leuven well ahead of Hope Bros, and a poke in the eye with a sharp stick ahead of Boogie Wonderland), so let's hear them.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Beer & skittles

'The Lanes' bowling lounge under construction in Wakefield StThere has been talk for a while about a bowling alley planned for Wakefield St behind Courtenay Central. Well, it's finally happening, but not on the site of the open-air car yard: instead, it's next door on the ground floor of 234-238 Wakefield St, which until recently was home to another car dealership.

It's great to have some more activity in Wakefield St, and a bowling alley is something new for the inner city, but some of you may have been thinking, "Hmm, that sounds a bit too 'family friendly' for me". Au contraire! According to their website, The Lanes will be a "grown-up Bowling Lounge" serving "good wines, boutique beers and cocktails and café style food".

It remains to be seen whether it will end up quite as hip as it aims to be: I'm sure that Boss (yes, that's the current mystery bar) thinks that it's "urban cool" as well. But in any case, with 11 main lanes plus a four-lane "corporate box" on the mezzanine, when it opens in October it will certainly bring more life to the area than a car dealership. And anyway: it's a bar!

Overall, things are looking up for this section of the "Silver Mile". Not only has the new Mr Chan's supermarket opened up next door, but across the road Café Romeo has opened in the ground floor of what used to be Cash Converters. Okay, so a café in a real estate agent's is about as exciting as it sounds, but it's better than just having offices at street level. In fact, this building has become an excellent example of mixed use, with a café, showroom and gym at ground level, offices above, and short-stay apartments on the top floor. It's great to see the gap between the waterfront and the Golden Mile starting to fill in.

Not Raul's

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There's been some speculation about what's taking over from Krazy Lounge. It's well known that the people behind the Havana/Fidel's empire are opening a bar or cafe here, and that its name will be in the same vein. But will it be Batista's? Ernesto's? Raul's? A clue has just appeared:

What's taking over from Krazy Lounge?
The face makes it fairly clear: it must be going to be called Tibby's.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Building rumours 1: 96-102 Vivian St

I thought I'd start a new series of posts based upon some of the key principles of WellUrban: promoting good urban design, stimulating informed debate about architecture, and spreading gossip. In other words, let's talk about some specific sites in Wellington and what may or may not be happening there.

The other weekend (Saturday August the 12th, to be precise), the bulldozers moved into another Te Aro site: 96-102 Vivian St, next to the Salvation Army. This photo was taken about mid-morning, with demolition well underway: by afternoon, the whole site was razed.

A site between Jessie and Vivian streets being demolished
It's quite a large site (800 sq m), with frontages to both Vivian and Jessie streets:

Map of LOTS 12 24 & PT LOTS 11 23 DP 322: Cadastral information derived from the LINZ CRS, Crown copyright reserved
It was home to several small engineering businesses, of the sort that are an endangered species in Te Aro, and since the buildings were old but presumably of limited historic or architectural merit, it's surprising that they'd lasted this long.

I haven't heard anything about what's going to be built here, and unless I've missed something, that implies that it was a non-notified consent and they'll be sticking within the 27m (six storey) height limit that covers most of Te Aro. Presuming that all five above-ground floors are used for apartments, that could mean another 50-80 people moving in to this part of SoCo.

But that's all just speculation. Do any of you know what's planned for the site? I look forward to your information, rumours, pictures, rants and raves.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A load of boules

It's been a while since I last wrote about Waitangi Park, and I'm holding off on replying to Kenno's Snark at the Park until the Wind Gardens are complete (which is proving to be a very long wait) and I can get a better idea of how the park works as a whole. But there was a letter in Friday's Dominion Post that I had to respond to.

Petanque at Waitangi Park in March 2006The writer complains that there's too much concrete, not enough greenery, and that the wetlands should all be converted to petanque pitches so that "Wellington could become the petanque capital of the southern hemisphere". I'm not averse to the odd game of petanque myself (especially with a glass of vin rouge in one hand, though the kiosk is also taking forever), but while French may be the second-most spoken language in Wellington, the suggestion smacks of Eurocentrism. If he were a true petanque fan, he would know about the existing facilities at Waitangi Park via the NZ Petanque Wiki.

As for the greenery vs concrete issue, I've written several times before about the practical need for a balance between hard and soft landscaping in an urban park. There certainly is a sense of barrenness to the park, but if anything it would be worse if were just one big paddock, and once the trees grow the whole place will be leafier and more intimate.

Wetlands at Waitangi Park - photo by nzphotopro1 at http://flickr.com/photos/nzphotopro1/138175169/The wetlands have certainly had their detractors, and it's a pity that the water-treatment aspect is not yet working, but it's interesting to see how many of the Waitangi Park photos on Flickr concentrate on the wetlands and the captivating images they provide (such as this one by nzphotopro1). Of course, a park doesn't exist solely for the amusement of photographers, but it's a hint that it would be a lot less interesting without the wetlands (and the skatepark, graffiti, graving dock, propellor and all the other hard elements).

Anyway, here's my reply.
Alan Burden wants Waitangi Park to have "more greenery, less concrete and no 'swamp'". Yet most of the time, the concrete and lime-chip areas attract more people than the existing grassy field, and the wetland area is one of the most interesting parts of the park.

Wind-blown rubbish is a fact of life in Wellington, and any planted area or water feature, even traditional flower beds or duck ponds, would fill up just as quickly. Some people call for "nature" to be returned to the city, but they obviously prefer a manicured, Europeanised vision of picturesque nature to a working ecosystem that recalls the living lagoon that was once nearby.

Speaking of European imports, while Petanque is an appropriate activity, perhaps we should wait to see how well the park's existing petanque terrain is used before taking over the whole area.

What the park needs is not more greenery, beyond what the existing trees will bring once mature, but more shelter, activity, visual interest and vertical elements to alleviate the flatness. And luckily, that's exactly what the proposed nearby buildings will bring, thus completing the vision of a lively urban public space rather than a wide, dreary paddock.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mystery bar number 39

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Alright, I'll let Bruzie have it: the last mystery bar was indeed The Quarter until fairly recently, though I was hoping someone would recognise its new identity. Before that, it was Chevy's, a relic from the days when the Willis/Dixon area was what passed for a nightlife hub and cheesy Americana was hip. The Quarter made the American theme more specific by concentrating on Cajun food, but apart from being the site of a notorious brawl between TV3 and TVNZ reporters, it never quite made much of an impression on the Wellington psyche.

The Quarter closed a month or two ago, apparently due to an illness in the family, and it has just reopened in a new guise: MVP. The name suggests a sports bar, but there's no sign of sports memorabilia or giant screens: just a very cursory makeover. It's pleasant enough, and food in the downstairs restaurant is both delicious and good value, but there's little that's disticntive about it. At least they've kept the famous giant cowboy from the Chevy's days.

Mystery Bar #39 - Sinatra posterBut enough of the past, and onto the next mystery bar. This is a place that goes for glamour in a big way, with glittery surfaces, velvet ropes, "infinite" mirrors, Rat Pack references and a long cocktail list. Though perhaps "glitz" is a better word than "glamour", and maybe "bling" is even more appropriate, since the music was more hip-hop lite than Sinatra suave. The presence of a cocktail called "Crunk Juice" reinforces that impression.

Mystery Bar #39 - a Martini on the barAn impressive amount of work has obviously gone into this place, and the drink prices are quite pricey (some cocktails are pushing $20), but the overall feel is one of cheapness. Some design elements look to be deliberately retro or ironic kitsch, while others look like unsuccessful attempts to imitate contemporary bar design. The service needs a bit of work too. I asked the barman for a dry Martini, and he replied "Certainly, sir" while reaching for the Bacardi. Luckily the bar manager intervened in time to prevent disaster, and supplied me with a half-decent Martini.

I imagine that this place could be quite fun if you go there with the right attitude (i.e. too drunk to care, or in the mood for a laugh). Otherwise, it is to cocktail bars what Supré is to cocktail dresses, or what the late unlamented MidCity Centre was to cinemas, which in the fighting words of Gerry Melling: "aspires to urbanity, but achieves the provincial; it searches for glitter, but finds only paste (the crude flash of glass rather than the subtle wink of gemstones); it attempts to be slick, but forgets oil begets dandruff".

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Shops that pass in the night 8

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For a change, let's look somewhere other than Harbour Quays, and get some retail therapy. Ghuznee St has developed a reputation for rapidly-changing retail, but it's not the only place that's been subject to change. The block of Featherston St between Waring Taylor and Johnston streets has gradually become a key part of the "Silver Mile", and all of a sudden it's going through a whole lot of closures and openings.

This used to be a mini art precinct, with the Ferner and Tinakori galleries on this block, the McGregor Wright gallery just around the corner and Crossroads books also selling an interesting range of prints. The latter two went a little while back, driven out by increasing rents, but the former seemed to be going strong. Then, all of a sudden, they were gone.

Former site of Tinakori and Ferner galleries, soon to be deNada boutique and Design ZooThe Tinakori Gallery moved to the Chews Lane development, eagerly seizing the opportunity for a larger exhibition space, and describing the move as "a natural progression, as ... the Willis/Cuba quarters embrace their collective definition as an arts-based hub." Ferner, on the other hand, has withdrawn from the Wellington market entirely. Their website just refers to it closing "following the expiry of the lease", but without any explanation as to why they didn't seek replacement premises.

Neither shop will be empty for long. Ferner's space is about to open as something called deNada, with a website that says "Your multifaceted life is there to be celebrated... with coffee, with music, with clothing that fits your body - no matter what shape you are... standard, big boobs, long legs - we've got it all covered." Most of that seems to point to clothing that is either custom-made or available in a range of sizes, which is confirmed by the fact that deNada is an alumnus of the Fashion HQ business incubator, and they aim to "celebrate the variances of our women customers' healthy bodies".

But the reference to coffee and music makes it sound like more than a standard boutique, and indeed their job ad claims that "deNada is an innovative new retail concept store ... encompassing female fashion and accessories, café, music and art". That sounds interesting, though it could always just be a shop with a coffee machine, a CD player and some paintings on the walls.

Next door, the Tinakori Gallery space is being fitted out for Design Zoo, which is currently based in Ngaio but is presumably the same outfit that was once where Burger Fuel is now, and before that was in Victoria St in what is now World.

Former site of Minnow home storeBut as one design store moves in, others depart: Minnow across the road departed very suddenly, and a block away next to Midland Park, Askew closed down a little while ago. The Askew site is empty, but without any "For Lease" signs, whereas the Minnow space is already being renovated. It's all quite exhausting!

Not so fast!

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The Harbour Quays location of the indoor stadium is by no means a done deal. There's an article on page A8 of today's Dominion Post headed "Stadium site shift upsets wharf users". It's not online, but here's an excerpt:

Plans to put a $40 million indoor sports stadium on Wellington's waterfront have brought a flurry of concerned calls from shipping and wharfside operators.

Prospective tenants at CentrePort's new Harbour Quays office park were also raising issues, CentrePort chairman Nigel Gould said. He was concerned that moving the 12-court sports centre to land next to the development could be a poor option for economic return from valuable land.


The deal relies on a slice of CentrePort-owned land being gifted to the council. But Mr Gould said it was not that simple.

Port users have complained that the sports centre would cut off access to the port, and Harbour Quays tenants are concerned that the community facility would not fit into the business park.

"It couldn't be in a more contestable area," Mr Gould said.

Addressing those concerns was a priority for the port company, but the opportunity for the city would have a strong bearing in the deliberations. However, Mr Gould acknowledged that it "made a lot of sense" to concentrate big sports venues in one place.

The proposed location includes an area that's shown in grey on the masterplan and labelled on the design page as "operational port area", so perhaps port access is a genuine concern. It is, after all, still a working port, and that should take highest priority. On the other hand, I seem to remember that there were plans for "big box" retail here, and when I looked yesterday it seemed to be a big empty carpark without much "operational" activity going on.
Proposed location for indoor stadiumMy suggested alternative site, however, is marked as being entirely within the office park, so may not be subject to the same problems.

As for being "a poor option for economic return from valuable land", it's worth bearing in mind that CentrePort is mostly owned by the regional council, whose purpose is to "[promote] Quality for Life by ensuring our environment is protected while meeting the economic, cultural and social needs of the community." Thus we should expect them to look beyond purely economic returns, and an indoor sports and events centre is exactly the sort of thing that addresses "cultural and social needs".

As for the actual and prospective "tenants" who are worried that "the community facility would not fit into the business park", I presume they mean the building owners rather than the people who actually have to work there. I know I've got at least one reader from the Stats building, so I'd like to ask: would your workplace be better or worse if it had a variety of community facilities, rather than just being a "business park"?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bringing it back

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As Kegan pointed out, there's a story on the front page of today's Dominion Post about the council reconsidering the placement of the indoor stadium: they're now thinking of putting it on the edge of Harbour Quays rather than way out at Kilbirnie. So it's almost come full circle, as the site is adjacent to the location originally proposed!

Now that the indoor stadium's purpose has gone back to being a significant regional competitive venue rather being primarily for school and community sports, the city-fringe location makes much more sense, for all the reasons I outlined earlier. Also, it will go some way to addressing the issues raised in the Kemp Report, by bringing a wider range of users to what would otherwise be a dull office park.

I'm still a bit worried that the specific proposal (right at the northern edge of Harbour Quays) is a bit too isolated from the CBD. If we're going to start messing around with the Harbour Quays masterplan, then how about putting it towards the southern end instead?

Latest suggested location for the indoor stadium (top), and a possible alternative (bottom)The section of Harbour Quays between the Bluebridge terminal and the Stats building has been set aside for four office buildings, but I think it's possible to combine the sports centre with at least a couple of buildings. In fact, it might even be possible to use two buildings as supports for a lightweight tensile roof. Something a bit like this:
Cross section showing stadium roof supported by office buildingsThe buildings will presumably need to be structurally stronger than normal, but (correct me if I'm wrong), it might be more efficient than having the offices and stadium as completely separate buildings. The ground floor uses at each end would provide much more active edges to the surrounding public spaces than is usual for an indoor stadium. The side walls could be partly transparent to allow glimpses of the activity inside. The gaps between offices and the ends of the stadium could double as concourses and as semi-sheltered public spaces or walkways. By having this complex closer to the city it would be much more useful for lunchtime sport while helping provide the sort of "infill" that I've talked about previously, thus re-connecting Harbour Quays with the (rest of the) CBD.

There are no doubt a hundred reasons why this couldn't work (not least of which, CentrePort could probably make more money by just filling this space with offices), but I think it's worth floating a few alternative ideas. Otherwise, we may end up with just another tin shed.

Update: the council has put out a press release explaining the process in more detail. Apparently, costs and parking are still issues, though I'd have thought the latter would be less of a problem since more people would be able to walk or take public transport (assuming decent connections to the station).

And George Darroch raised the sensible objection that the lateral forces look to be too much for the supporting buildings. I didn't show it in the original drawing, but I envisioned some sort of cross bracing like this:
Cross section showing stadium roof supported by a suspension-bridge type of strustureWhich makes it structurally similar to a suspension bridge (I think). I probably shouldn't be dabbling in this sort of stuff!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Harbour saga

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The saga of Harbour Quays continues, and takes on new twists as it goes. While the Civic Trust's seminar has unfortunately had to be delayed until next April, the debate has been kept in the public eye by the release of the Kemp Report (866kB PDF) into the potential economic and urban impacts of the development.

It's a long, detailed document (60 pages), but what it comes down to is this: contrary to what its opponents claim, Harbour Quays won't "suck the soul" out of the CBD. On the other hand, there are a lot of ways in which it could be done much better.

On the first point, the report concludes that in the "worst probable case", it will only have moderate impact on the office market. "[A]ssuming Harbour Quays attracted tenants only from the Central City ... [it] would result in an additional 3.7% of existing office space becoming vacant. This would lift present vacancies to less than 12%, which is quite acceptable in 'efficient functioning' office markets which need around this level of 'market lubricating' vacancies (to provide some choice of space and prevent excessive rent increases)" (p17). Furthermore, "any loss in office employees frequenting the retail heart of the Central City, will be more than offset by the increase in 11,290 residents planned to be living within walking distance of Wellington's retail heart by 2021" (p25).

On the second point, the report raises all the issues (mixed use, shelter, pedestrian connections) that I've mentioned before. Recommendations include:

  • Locating and staging the next developments to improve local worker amenity and connectivity to the rest of the CBD (similar to my suggestion that the next step should be to "infill" between the Stats building and the Railway Station).

  • Completing the public places, and provide sheltered connections to the rail station and the rest of the CBD (I'd add that connections across the Stadium concourse to Thorndon are also important).

  • Provide additional employee and community benefits, not just retail but also "a demonstration high tech small office and video conference centre", "program for cultural, community and special interest groups to regularly take responsibility for space or stage events", "health and fitness centre with health monitoring, lap pool, saunas, gym" and "innovative new all weather indoor/outdoor spaces and 'outdoor rooms'" (in other words, don't just build an office park).

Despite a lot of dry property economics speak, there are places where this report actually sounds quite daring and visionary, with suggestions such as "band rehearsal and recording studio, an all weather adventure play ground, solar and wind powered community art", "a series of high profile Competitions (in association with local schools, business, architectural, town planning and development groups and the local media)", "a landscaped, sheltered 'land bridge' between Harbour Quays and the Rail Station". The City Council's response (44kB PDF) is a bit more muted, but at least hints that it does want to ensure a better mix of uses, to "promote high quality design, provide for active ground floor use and smaller tenancies" and to ensure that funding is in place for proper infrastructure.

The report does raise the issue that some (older or "lower quality") office buildings may be left vacant, but suggests what I thought would be the obvious and sensible solution: "adaptive reuse of these buildings (possibilities may include boutique offices, affordable serviced office space, creative industries and residential conversions)." Harbour Quays' opponent scoffed at this, and Vibrant Wellington spokesman John Feast said "Are we going to end up having a residential cbd? The very purpose of a cbd is for offices. In every other city it is the heart of the commercial centre."

But what's wrong with bringing a mixture of uses into the CBD? Many similar conversions have already happened, and arguably they have been part of the reason why the CBD is less deserted out of office hours than it was 15 years ago. Vibrant Wellington wants to enforce mixed use for Harbour Quays, but thinks it's ridiculous for the existing CBD: there's something odd about that.

Having some older office space lie vacant for a while might actually be good for Wellington. One of the big issues of the last few years is that affordable spaces have been gobbled up for apartment and commercial development, squeezing out artists, start-ups and small businesses. Jane Jacobs put it best: "New ideas must use old buildings". In other words, buildings whose inital construction cost have been paid off are cheap, thus creating an opportunity for lower margin, risky or one-of-a-kind businesses. As the government and corporate offices move out to shiny new large-floorplate buildings, the creative and original businesses move in. Surely the long-term "soul" and "vibrancy" of Wellington rests depends more upon these people than on keeping rents as high as possible?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Market movements

It's interesting to hear your mixture of views on potential waterfront markets for Wellington. I've probably muddied the waters a bit by referring to my suggestion as a "market", and the word "deli" might be closer to what I had in mind. Either that, or something like Auckland's Nosh, but in a convenient location rather than in whatever Wellington's equivalent of Glen Innes would be.

The NZX building with animated electronic signsOn the other hand, the NZX building is now very visibly the home of a quite different sort of market, as the scrolling signs make clear. The signs were moderately controversial, and I had mixed feelings about them myself: I thought they would be better in Courtenay Place (after all, the New York equivalents are in Times Square rather than Wall St) and I didn't see the need for the council to pay for them. However, they certainly animate a dull façade, and of the twelve passers-by that the Capital Times interviewed about them, only two were against it while one was ambivalent. I just hope the council finds some interesting alternative uses for them to justify the public expenditure (hmm, I can sense another post coming up...).

The new location of Mr Chan's supermarket in Wakefield StBut back to actual markets. Last week, Deepred drew my attention to the fact that the former A-mart site has been suddenly vacated. Mr Chan's market has shifted to a site in Wakefield St that used to house a BMW dealership, and should help solidify the Wakefield/Tory corner as the centre of a little foodie precinct. (Update: Mr Chan's seems to be closed again.) The Chinese Barbeque joint has moved to the Wakefield Markets next to the Rialto, though that site itself may not be around for long. And there's no sign of the much-loved Thordon Seafoods, though I'm crossing my fingers that it might re-open at Chaffers Dock, as the site between Waitangi Park and the marina would be a fantastic location for a fish 'n' chips shop.

The A-mart site is owned by Chris Parkin, a former city councillor and owner of the adjacent Museum Hotel and apartments. I heard some time ago that there were plans to redevelop the site (presumably as apartments), but I don't know whether he intends to keep the ground floor for something similar to A-mart or try some other (more lucrative) type of retail. As always, rumours, gossip and scuttlebutt are welcome.

And then yesterday, it caught fire. Interestingly, the news reports speak as if the market were still active ("a popular fruit market"), whereas it's been empty for over two weeks. They mention that the mezzanine "may require repair work", which seems at odds with what I presumed to be imminent demolition.

Even if the existing building is demolished, I'd love to see something like A-mart continue on the site, but with more stalls and open at night: the sort of (licensed!) food court of which Tze Ming would approve. With a more active edge to the streets and a decent verandah, it would do a lot to improve connections between Courtenay Place and Waitangi Park. So, there's a chance that all of this change could be positive for Wellington, but I'll have to reserve judgement until the actual plans emerge.

Update: it's going to be a booze barn, at least for now. See here for details.

Mystery bar number 38

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Finally! After one or two hints, Dylan identified the previous Mystery Bar as Lone Star Lounge in Tory St. While it obviously shares branding with Lone Star restaurant and bar below it, it's physically quite separate and relatively civilised. Its slightly hard-to-find entrance no doubt contributes to this mellower atmosphere.

Mystery Bar #38 - the barThis week's Mystery Bar shares one or two attributes with Lone Star Lounge (a pool table, leather sofas, a mix of rustic and contemporary decor), but is much more visible from the street. It's also fairly quiet, but probably not intentionally: it's located on a block that's had a patchy history for retail and hospitality, which might go some way to explaining why it was so quiet when I visited on a Saturday lunchtime. While it's no surprise that the dedicated upstairs bar was deserted then, the downstairs café/bar could certainly be expected to be busier, and since the food was tasty and well-priced, it deserves to be. Still, it's early days.

Mystery Bar #38 - pool tableThe recent renovation seems aimed to steer the establishment in a slightly more upmarket and contemporary direction, but there are plenty of reminders of its previous incarnations. Not just because it retains the same layout and much of the old furniture, but because there are traces of the old branding throughout the place. I doubt that this is intentional, but there were a couple of (in)famous incidents here that lend it a certain notoriety, and maybe that could give it a point of difference that it otherwise lacks. And there's one part of the exterior that remains very distinctive, even though it's becoming less and less relevant to the food, drink and atmosphere.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Karked it

Sorry, Krazy Lounge is closed forever. R.I.P.Krazy Lounge has Konked out. There's a sign on the door saying "Sorry, Krazy Lounge is closed forever. R.I.P.", and the inside is currently being used as a temporary sale shop for the appropriately-named fashion label Insidious Fix.

It opened in 1996, which certainly made it seem a permanent fixture in Wellington (though the mid-90s coffee scene was not quite so bleak as the My Wellington review makes out). What that review also misses (along with an article on Thread) is that the "Krazy" spelling was not just arbitrary kookiness, but a nod to the previous occupant: Krazy Rick's junk shop.

Krazy Lounge mosaicNevertheless, it was starting to seem a little dated, a relic of early 90s Midnight Espresso-era bohemia. A series of management changes didn't help, with very variable standards of service over the last five years, though the most recent (the owners of Petone's Caffiend, if I remember rightly) had raised hopes, and as recently as June, "Morgue" was saying:

Tonight I spent a couple hours in Krazy Lounge nursing a coffee, listening to a jazz quintet and reading last year's John Ralston Saul book on globalization.

Finally, I felt like a fucking citizen.
Despite that, it seemed to be open less and less often, and the end seemed inevitable. If anyone has the inside gossip on what happened, please share it here. It's a pity to see it go, but as with Rouge across the road, the site is too good to remain empty for long.

Oh and by the way, it seems like I'll have to drop more hints about the current Mystery Bar. It's upstairs, not far from the Golden Mile, and related to the much more high profile bar and restaurant below it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Future waterfront 4: quality design

Here's the final part of my talk on ideas for the future of the waterfront, this time concentrating on the theme of "quality design". Most of my suggestions are fairly conservative, but there's one idea, based upon one of your comments, that is really out there. But I guess that's the point of a "blue skies" session!

Quality design

We haven't had the best track record of this on the waterfront, and a lot of that is due to the sort of misguided contextualism that led to Queens Wharf being designed as a couple of ugly tin sheds. The waterfront's true context is the city and the sea, not a collection of old sheds, and we need to encourage adventurous architecture that lives up to its surroundings. I still have my reservations about the Hilton design, but the Waitangi competition produced some truly exciting designs, and it should be Wellington's priority to make them happen.

UN studio design for Te Papa transition building
I believe that new buildings should be environmentally as well as aesthetically exemplary. By building to a moderate density on a brownfield site close to public transport and city amenities, Kumutoto is already making a step towards sustainability. But while the Meridian building at Site 7 sounds like it's making some advances in green design, it's still possible to do better. I'd like to see other Kumutoto buildings incorporate features such as planted roofs, "living machines" (which are "vertical wetlands" for cleaning waste water), as well as solar and wind power. You could combine these with a public ecological museum, a shop and a research centre, but crucially the building should be a "museum of itself", putting its principles into practice.

If you really want to talk about "blue skies thinking", you could combine this eco-centre idea with one of the proposed special attractions: a viewing tower. There's nothing particularly "green" or special about a tower per se, but a "Wellington Wind Tower" powered by its own wind turbines and solar panels could be something unique. It needn't be very tall: the Ferris wheel that was here over summer was only about eight storeys high, yet it provided some lovely views. Kumutoto would be one possible location, where it could be incorporated into an office building, but if you want to get crazy about combining multiple functions, how about the south side of the Events Centre TSB Bank Arena?

At the lower levels, it could morph seamlessly into a bridge across to Willeston St, with the "green machine" vegetation acting as a public winter garden and the eco-centre providing human activity. An undulating glass wall could wrap around the south side of the Arena, providing a more attractive backdrop to Frank Kitts Park. From here it could sweep up into the tower, with wind-powered glass elevators travelling through the greenery up into the tower and viewing platform. Turbines, perhaps of the vertical-axis Savonius type, could be integrated into the design, as could photovoltaic panels arranged in patterns designed by artists.

Okay, so that's quite likely to be tacky, expensive and structurally impractical, but I'm just throwing out nutty ideas here. Wellington doesn't necessarily need a big-bang attraction to bring people to the waterfront: the framework's combination of mixed-use buildings and quality public spaces should do that anyway. But if you want "blue sky ideas", there's several all rolled into one.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Future waterfront 3: special attractions

Here's the second part of my "blue skies" talk about the future of the waterfront. Following on from the importance of good connections, this section discusses some potential special attractions.

Special attractions

In a sense, we don’t need a lot of special attractions, since the waterfront itself will make even ordinary activities special: a decent restaurant or a nice shop would much more appealing at Waitangi or Kumutoto. Even if there were nothing there that you couldn't find on Cuba St or Lambton Quay, it would still be a fantastic part of town. And we need some of this ordinariness on the waterfront, to make it a part of people's everyday lives.

But there are some activities that could only be on the waterfront, or that would make particular sense there. Some of the suggestions I received, with various degrees of seriousness, included a fishing pier, a rope swing into the water, a historic ship moored outside Te Papa, a wave machine in the lagoon, a heritage tram, and a sculptural, iconic viewing tower. But one suggestion came time and again in different guises: a permanent covered market.

The Sunday vegetable market at Waitangi is popular and worthwhile, and should definitely continue, but it would be wonderful to have something more varied, stylish, comfortable and permanent. Rather than just being a place to get cheap veges, it should showcase the best local foods, along the lines of London's Borough Market. I envisage something like a cross between Moore Wilson Fresh and Kirkcaldie's collection of specialist food shops, but by selling only produce from Wellington and the surrounding regions, it would be unique enough to be a tourist attraction yet practical enough for locals.

Suggested locations included near the old Lynx terminal and in the Frank Kitts underground carpark, but I prefer the ground floor of the NZX building. It's halfway between Lambton and Te Aro, on the tourist route from Civic Square to Te Papa, with space for a restaurant, office workers nearby and the ability to spread out onto Odlins Plaza for a traditional farmers' market at weekends.

The Odlins building seen from Taranaki Wharf (before the electronic signs were added)While we already have a lot of museums and galleries in Wellington, I think there are still gaps in areas such as science and design. Te Papa does a good job of natural history, but we could still do with a specialist interactive museum about pure science, mathematics and technology. I'd also like to see a design museum. I know that the Architectural Centre is looking for an exhibition venue, and I'd love to see the Te Papa extension at Waitangi specialise in architecture, fashion, furniture, product design, graphics and multimedia.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


When I wrote about the potential demolition of the Il Casino building, there was an ominous anonymous comment about plans already existing for redevelopment. I've since heard rumours that these plans may just involve building on the open portion of the site rather than demolishing the whole building, and may just be speculative designs to assess the potential of the site rather than a sign of definite intent. That's slightly reassuring, but I still remain apprehensive.

Among the comments on that post, I mentioned the planned redevelopment of another pioneering restaurant site: the Settlement in Willis St. Harry Seresin was as much an inspiration to Wellington's hospitality scene as Remiro Bresolin has been, and while the old building has suffered some indignities since then (the Lions HQ!) it has at least survived. For a while there were plans in the window advertising its replacement by apartments, but they had disappeared for a few months and I couldn't find it mentioned online, so I wondered whether the plans had fallen through. Recently, though, a rendering of the proposed building has been sporadically visible in the window, and I managed to grab a blurry photo of it.

It's not pretty. It seems to be by the same developer and architect (Stratford Properties, Cockburn Architects) as the nearly complete Stratford apartment/hotel development across the road at 156 Willis St. That building is let down by a gratuitous travesty of a cornice and a shade of green that somehow manages to be simultaneously bland and bilious, but at least it has the virtue of slenderness when seen from Willis St. This one is a little shorter (12 storeys) but three times the width, muscling right up to Roti on one side and Mojo Invincible on the other. There have at least been some attempts to break down that imposing bulk by modulating the roofline, but then they've ruined it by tacking on folksy curvy bits of facade, presumably in deference to the existing Settlement, since none of its neighbours have anything of the sort. But what worked on a colonial two-storey shopfront doesn't belong on a concrete high-rise, and the result looks like a Wild West film set blown up on a malfunctioning photocopier.

I have a lot of respect for Daryl Cockburn's environmental activism, and with groups such as Transport 2000+, Cycle Aware Wellington and Living Streets Aotearoa he has been a welcome advocate for sustainable transport and urban form. However, I have to make a personal judgement (as a layperson) and say that I don't think his buildings are great advertisements for high-density urban living. What he describes as "classical timeless principles" looks to me more like the sort of plasterboard faux-historical gimcrackery that characterised the worst of 1980s postmodernism.

It might be instructive to apply the Architecture Centre's Manifesto for Architecture to this proposal and see how it matches up:

1) Architecture must be better than what it replaces (Fresh air is better than some buildings)
2) Architecture relies on intelligent government (Mindless bureaucracy will only create mindless architecture)
3) Architecture needs an assertive public (Architecture will only thrive if the public demand this)
4) Urban Environments must be planned (but not only by planners)
5) Recycle Architecture; Good architecture is elegant environmentalism (Continued human existence relies on having planet earth in our future; ditto for the next planet)
6) Architecture must facilitate better living (The delights of good design - light, warmth and pleasure etc - must be cherished)
7) Bad building must be eliminated (Wellington is too important for soulless building; buildings designed heartlessly for profit are not architecture)
8) Architecture must be celebrated (New architecture is our future heritage)
9) Architecture has an obligation to challenge (Controversy has a positive role in architecture)

Hmm. A lot of this comes down to aesthetic preference, but already points 1 and 7 are looking a bit shaky. It ignores rule 5, and number 6 is more about amenity for the residents, which is hard to comment on. It's hard to see this being the sort of thing that would be celebrated as heritage in the future, so it falls down on point 8. Its very blandness is what's offensive about it, so number 9 doesn't apply. If we followed point 3 the public might have been able to influence this development for the better, but since this was presumably non-notified (the height doesn't break the District Plan) we haven't had a chance. For that, we can probably blame a failure of points 2 and 4.

Is it too late to achieve a better outcome for the city? The demolition of the Settlement building, while regrettable for its historical importance, is not a terrible loss. A building of this size and location is justifiable on the grounds of increased residential density, and the bulk, while considerable, is probably manageable. It's just the facade that makes it look so cheap and depressing. I believe that it should be possible to come up with a surface treatment that's much more interesting, and that actually enlivens the street, without costing vastly more. The development is yet to start, so nothing is inevitable, but is there any mechanism through which the public, and the architectural community, can ensure that the result is something to be celebrated?


You may not have noticed, but this week is Conservation Week. There's a bunch of events on in Wellington, including "weed swaps" at Te Papa and Lower Hutt, where you can bring along a weed from your garden and swap it for a native plant. There's no word of an Aro Valley weed swap, which might be a bit more interesting ...

I wouldn't normally mention this sort of thing here, since it's not directly related to urban sustainability issues, but there's a series of talks and debates at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul (the new one) that looks interesting. In particular, this Thursday at noon there's a debate on the proposition:
Everybody's Money: There is far too much for Roading, far too little for Public Transport.
The Victoria University Debating Society team will debate the negative, while the Green Party (Jeanette Fitzsimons, Roland Sapsford and Brent Efford) will (funnily enough) take the affirmative.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Future waterfront 2: good connections

A few weeks back, I asked for your suggestions about what you'd like to see on the waterfront, so that I could take those suggestions to Wellington Waterfront Ltd. I read your comments and combined some of the themes with my own thoughts and priorities, and ended up with a presentation based around three main topics: good connections, special attractions and quality design. The result was quite long (1500 words), so I'll break it up into three posts, starting with the introduction and "good connections" section.


Blue sky thinking on the waterfront

I've been asked to speak as an individual rather than as a representative of any group, but I thought I'd ask the readers of my blog for their suggestions. I had replies from 22 people, adding up to over 8 A4 pages of ideas and comments, and I've incorporated some of the responses in my talk. Apart from ideas for specific attractions, the common threads were the need for access, shelter, more dining and drinking spots and the variety of activities that comes with mixed use. Notably, no-one expressed a desire for more green open space, and car parking was mentioned only once.

In the end, it was up to me to choose three priorities. I believe that the current direction is very good, and that a mixed use urban waterfront is what we need, but I thought of three aspects that need special attention. First, good connections are vital, both to the rest of the city and within the waterfront itself. Second, amongst all the standard commercial and recreational activities, there is the potential for some special attractions. And of course, we need to ensure that the quality of design is exemplary.

Good connections

When I talk about good connections, I don’t just mean physical access, but urban continuity. The waterfront must be conceived as a part of the city, not apart from it. Part of that will come from ensuring mixed use and activity on the waterfront itself, but the blocks between it and the Golden Mile also need to have activity and a quality environment, or even a relatively easy walk to the water will seem bleak and off-putting.

Featherston St has been steadily improving, which is one reason why I'm more confident about retail success at Kumutoto than in the Retail Centre days. But the blocks between Courtenay Pl and Cable St, from the BP station to New World, could go either way. There is justification here for more proactive planning, or we could be stuck with a hodgepodge of disconnected apartment blocks among single-storey bulk retail, surface parking and open air car yards. These blocks need active edges and shelter, together with residents and workers, to create continuity of activity between Te Aro and Te Papa and the Waitangi Precinct. I'd also like to see some mixed-income housing and backpacker accommodation here, to bring more diversity to the demographics surrounding the waterfront.

Improved physical access is still important, but my readers were divided on the merits of pedestrian bridges vs at-grade crossings. At-grade access needs traffic reduction and prioritising pedestrian crossings, but bridges need to be attractions in their own right, such as the City-to-Sea bridge. One thing seems clear: "Greening the Quays" is not enough. I'm sceptical about whether the so-called bypass will reduce waterfront traffic, and I think that the quays should be reduced to 4 lanes whether or not the traffic drops off.

Continuity of shelter is important, both for pedestrian commuters and for visitors to the waterfront. Finally, connections along the waterfront also matter, in terms of the quality of the promenade and the locations of activity, and I agree with many of my readers that Frank Kitts Park and the front of Te Papa are often dead spots.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A bibulous meme

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It looks like my quest (to drink at every bar in central Wellington this year) has caught on. First, Jo, then Brenda and now Penny have all posted their own lists of bars, and are crossing off their conquests as they go. If every WellUrban reader followed the example, we'd go a long way to creating a boom for the lcoal hospitality (and hepatology) industry.

The list has had to evolve over time, given the number of openings, closures and revamps, and also because I've reconsidered my decisions about whether certain places count as bars. In particular, I've gratefully accepcted Brenda's suggestion not to include Hog's Breath, but I can't quite agree that Hede counts as a bar. I've also omitted a couple of places that are right on the cusp of opening. Finally, I've reluctantly had to remove Il Casino: while there's still a chance that it will re-open in some form, it's unlikely that it will have the same name and style.

I end up with a total of 154 currently open bars, of which I have sampled 126 this year: that's nearly 82% done. Here's my list (and if you look closely, you might find a clue to the current mystery bar).

Arbitrageur, Arizona, Atlanta, B4, Backbencher, Ballroom, Basement, Beaujolais, Big Kumara, Bisque On Bolton, The Black Harp, Blend, Blondini's, Blue Note, Bodega, Bohdans, Boogie Wonderland, Boulcott St Bistro, Boulot, Brewery Bar, The Bristol, Brix, Bull & Bear, Cabaret, Calzone, Cambridge Hotel, Capitol, Caucus, The Cavern Club, Chameleon, Chicago, Chow, Club K, Concrete, Confidential, Copita, Courtenay Arms, Coyote, Crazy Horse, Cue Room, Curve, Dockside Restaurant, The Dog & Bone, Dojo, Downtown Local, The Dubliner, East West, Eclipse, Electric Avenue, Endup, Establishment, The Feathers, Ferrymans, Floriditas, Flying Burrito Brothers, The Front Room, Gibbon's Bar, GoGo, Good Luck, Green Room, The Grill at Duxton, Happy, Harem, Havana, Hope Bros, Hotel Willis Lodge, Hugos, Hummingbird, Imbibe, Imerst, J'aime Bordeaux, Jet, The Jimmy, JJ Murphy's, Juniper, Kazu Yakitori and Sake Bar, Kitty O'Shea's, The Lab, The Lab Underground, The Last Supper Club, Latinos, Leuven, The Lido, Liquidate, The Loaded Hog, Logan Brown, Lone Star, Lone Star Lounge, Lovelocks, The Malthouse, Matterhorn, Maya, Medina, Mercury Lounge, Mezzaluna, Milk, Mini Bar, Ministry Of Food, Mixjah, Mojo Invincible, Molly Malones, Monkey Bar, Monsoon Poon, Motel, Occidental, The Old Bank Bar & Café, One Red Dog (Blair St), One Red Dog (Kumutoto), Paradiso, Paramount, The Pit, Pod, Ponderosa, Pound, Pravda, The Quarter, Rain, Red Square, Sandwiches, San Francisco Bathouse, Scopa, Seam, The Shack, Shed 5, Shooters, Sojourn, Southern Cross, Sovereign, Speight's Ale House, Spice Island, Stadium Bar, Stellar, Subnine, Sweet Mother's Kitchen, Syn, Taste of Korea, The Tasting Room, The Thistle Inn, Toast, Trax, Tupelo, Urbane, UU, Valve, Vespa Lounge, Vivo, The Wellesley Cafe, Sports Cafe, Welsh Dragon Bar & Scorpio's, West Plaza Hotel, Whitbys Piano Bar, The White Room, Zibibbo, Zing