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

Monday, December 10, 2007


I haven't posted much recently on WellUrban's core concerns (architecture and urbanism), but normal service should resume shortly. The usual start-of-month posts on Drink of the Month and the preceding roundup, combined with a new mystery bar (that no-one's attempted to guess yet), have taken up some of my time, but I've also been busy with the Second Annual Wellingtonista Awards (dubbed "the AWAs"). There was an absolutely stonking awards party on Thursday: ridiculously glamorous photos are available on MLR and on Flickr via Jo Hubris, begilejapan and variasian; and write-ups can be found on Hard News and the many blogs linked to by Miramar Mike. It took a while for enough of us to recover from the festivities to post the results, which are now fully online and generating controversy already. Here's a bit more detail on the most WellUrban-ish of the categories.

Best Building: for the second year running, the Wellington City Library took out the award, thus proving that this is one example of late Postmodernism that has aged surprisingly well. The Meridian building wasn't that far behind, though, and given that (unlike the library) the general public hasn't had a chance to spend time inside it, I'd like to think that it's well on the way to establishing itself as a Wellington favourite and a benchmark for new architecture in the city.

Best Public Space: this was one of the most-answered questions in the survey, with nearly 600 votes overall. It was also much closer, and while the Botanic Gardens was the winner, Oriental Bay wasn't far behind, followed quite closely by Cuba Mall and Waitangi Park. I was quite surprised that Midland Park came in a very distant last, but I guess it's not a destination space, and now that I'm no longer working nearby I can't imagine myself spending much time there.

Best Public Art: this category was won by a cluster of sculptures rather than a single piece: the Meridian Energy Wind Sculpture Walk along Cobham Drive. It only just beat the "Left Bank Gallery" aka Graffiti Alley (which was the scene of some very unusual activity over the weekend - I'll write more about that soon), and while I voted for the Alley myself, it's good to recognise the great work that the Wellington Sculpture Trust has been putting in. In fact, the only reason that the trust couldn't have someone there to receive their award was that they were busy unveiling their latest contribution to Wellington's public space: Regan Gentry's Green Islands sculptures on the plinths outside Te Papa.

Most Needed: this was a very broad category, covering everything from bars and shops to infrastructure. The winner by a huge margin, with nearly twice as many votes as its nearest rival, was light rail to the airport. Of course this wasn't a scientific survey, but someone should tell the council as they consider transport options to the airport that 248 out of 544 people voted for light rail. Second place went to "a 24-hour diner", and I'll be willing to push that up the priority list given our post-awards dining debacle.


At 3:35 pm, December 10, 2007, Blogger Gemma said...

Well I would guess the mystery bar, but I fear my post would be censored again! ;)

At 7:04 pm, December 10, 2007, Blogger Erentz said...

Regarding the public art competition. I thought the (presuming) No. 8 Wire sculptures that went up on the four plinths at the entrance to Te Papa are quite a nice addition... kinda a neat evolution. Hope they're permanent (or maybe periodically changing?) features.

At 9:22 pm, December 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Biased, I know, but I think you could include "best cultural venue" in your WellUrban scope. There's nowhere quite like the Film Archive mediaplex in the world (I know, I looked). Anywhere that comes close cost a fortune – and probably charges a fortune too.

Thanks to the voters - come in for a short film or a short black.

At 12:25 pm, December 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then you haven't been to the Swedish Film Institute's Cinemateket in Stockholm starkive. It is in a league all of its own and extremely cheap.


At 11:16 am, December 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well maybe, but I don't think it does so well on the "didn't cost a fortune' test.

All those tax kroners...

At 12:35 am, December 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Possibly, but I bet it is very cost effective if you measure its cost in usage or per capita terms. With a population of over a million and 6 months of gloomy dark winter, Stockholmers are big movie goers. Still I agree that the Film Archive is a Wellington treasure. Posthumous thanks to Jonathan Dennis.

At 4:51 pm, January 12, 2010, Anonymous cure golfer's elbow said...

So many links to check out in that post, and so little time!

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