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

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Kumutoto update

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Kumutoto, showing the tug wharf before work starts on renovations, and the Meridian building under constructionWork has begun in earnest on the public spaces at Kumutoto, and from tomorrow a section of the Tug Wharf Promenade (the name of which speaks volumes about the transition from a working port to expectations of leisure) will be closed for up to four months to allow it to be rebuilt. The Dominion Post managed to get its closure notice last week completely wrong, with the alarming news that the waterfront promenade would be closed all the way from Shed 5 to Waitangi Park. They published the correct information yesterday: as this map shows, the closure will be from just north of Shed 5 to opposite Whitmore St, and judging by the location of the barriers, initially it will still be possible to walk past the Loaded Hog.

Alternative routes around Kumutoto tug wharf promenadeWhen I last wrote about it in December, renderings of the updated public space designs weren't yet online, but there's now a page on the WWL website with a full description and images. Bear in mind that the renderings concentrate on the public spaces: they leave the Meridian building looking much blockier and blander than it will be, and don't show the yet-to-be designed Site 8 building at all. They also show a sculpture in Kumutoto Plaza, but nothing specific has been designed yet, so the images are just indicative of its general size and location.

Apart from the new tower element on the bridge and the removal of the low-level pontoons, the main changes in this revised design from the earlier versions are around Kumutoto Plaza and the mouth of Kumutoto stream. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two versions (the scale might not be exactly the same), with the new version on the left and the previous one on the right.

Kumutoto plaza designs: new version (Dec 06) on the left, old on the rightThere would originally have been a grille across the stream, so that you could walk over it and look down at the water, but for a number of practical and design reasons this has been dropped in favour of a simple series of terraces stepping down to the sea. The area immediately to the north of the Meridian building gets a complex arrangement of concrete and timber platforms, thus providing sheltered seating options at many different levels. Kumutoto Plaza itself gets a different arrangement of trees and benches, and while there will still be some raised planters it looks like the small raised lawn will go. Some might miss that, but it's likely that hard surfaces would me more practical in this sort of context anyway.


At 11:35 pm, February 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear the Dominion Post was wrong. I was shocked and baffled to hear that so much of the waterfront would be blocked off.


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