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

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

From WOW to WAW

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Wellington Architecture Week - pamphlet cover imageAs the World of WearableArt awards wrap up on Friday with the delayed parade, it's time to shift our attention from wearable art to inhabitable art. Wellington Architecture Week kicks off next Monday, and while there's a huge range of talks, open projects, debates, competitions and exhibitions, there are two very topical themes that come through: heritage issues, and the parliamentary precinct.

As the comments on my post about the Chews Lane development show, the conflict between retaining heritage and growing the city is as relevant as ever. Next Thursday's Pivotal Architectural Debate proposes the motions that "urban designers should leave heritage alone", and while I tend to inhabit the middle ground on such issues, there are fundamentalists on both side of the question so it could be a lively debate.

Yesterday's announcement of a design for the new Supreme Court building (and today's Dominion Post article about it) is relevant to both themes. As I mentioned back when the site was first confirmed, it involves the renovation of and a major addition to a significant heritage building (watch out for the first two and a half paragraphs of that page, since they appear to be interlopers from the old Departmental Building in Stout St); and it's also a cornerstone of the evolving Parliamentary Precinct. It's a bit early to comment on the design, since all I've seen is one photo of the model (not online), but it does look intriguing, and I'm glad that it's not too imitative or historicist in its approach.

The full programme is available as a 16.7MB PDF, or if that's a bit much for your connection, you can download specific sections from the Architectural Centre's homepage. I've also posted a text listing of all events on The Wellingtonista for your convenience. It could do with a bit of online promotion: though it's supported by the city council, it doesn't seem to be on the council's Feeling Great events site. Nor is it on Wotzon or the more-than-faintly controversial nzlive.com. It seems that we're always willing to moan when the built environment doesn't live up to our expectations, but this is a wonderful opportunity to debate the ways in which it could be improved, and to celebrate the things that we love about it.


At 5:28 pm, September 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Tom, you can't say that we at Eventfinder are not responsive to the needs of our Wellington viewers.

We've posted Wellington Architecture Week online, just to make you happy (and perhaps encourage you to post nice things about us).

We even threw in a banner ad in the rotation on the home page, just help increase awareness. After all, if online promotion of events is what you need... who ya gonna call? Eventfinder!


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