The Eye of the Fish

July 26, 2010


Normal transmission will be resumed shortly. In the mean time, ponder this:

Not a very architectural image, to be sure, but an inspiring one none the less: if the Maximus is to get back a figure like this, then we need to get off our butts and away from the keyboard. It is increasingly difficult to write about design in a city which pays only lip service to it: although I’m not the Political Busker, I’ve also been incredibly depressed about the crap proposal that has been railroaded through Manners Mall without any evidence of good design.

Council elections are coming up later this year: not that far away. Nominations for Mayor and Councillors have just been opened – and it would be good to have a Mayoral candidate that would stand for good design. Last time Mayor Kerry swept back in, on the basis of policies that were, umm, I think it was “more of the same”. Or “unfinished business”. Or something equally vaguely threatening. The usual suspects of Pepperel and Goulden stood against her, and failed to get in – it must be unpleasant to lead an organisation where so many of your ‘friends’ and colleagues openly campaign against you.

So: I throw open to you Councillors and readers of the Eye of the Fish, to answer the question: What are you going to do to ensure that we have good design in our buildings and public places in Wellington?

26 - 07 - 10

You may think it flippant, but how about more of this kind of thing?

Or perhaps the School of Fish should attempt to agree on one particular issue – the Basin, Lower Cuba, the indoor stadium… and present a united front. Take a plunge into the tide of actual activism.

26 - 07 - 10

Holy heavenly Haddock ! Its the Takeaway Tempura of Tehran ! The Pescado Frito of the Holy Imman ! Nice picture – but I hate to see a Fish in so much pain. It looks as though it must have died a terrible death…

Re activism: ooooh, I’m active alright. You should see me frolicking in the shallows. But don’t want to get in out of my depth…

27 - 07 - 10

Stay calm citizens: Erentz shall stand for city council!

Has Andy Foster declared if he’ll run for Mayor? Celia is running and at least her pro-PT credentials are clear, if maybe her design credentials aren’t. Now hopefully everyone remembers not to put any numbers next to the incumbent’s name and we’ll be ok.

27 - 07 - 10

Erentz, you serious? You’re running? Then we’ll find out who you really are, and what you look like !
So the line-up at present is:
current Mayor Kerry Prendergast
Rob Goulden
Celia Wade-Brown
Bryan Pepperell
Ian McKinnon ? maybe?
Andy Foster ? possibly?
Ray Ahipene-Mercer ? likely?
Jack Yang – indep – marketing himself very well
Erentz – the Z of mystery

not running?
Ngaire Best (Northern)
Stephanie Cook (Lambton)
Jo Coughlan (Onslow-Western)
Leonie Gill (Eastern)
John Morrison (Onslow-Western)
Iona Pannett (Lambton)
Helene Ritchie (Northern)
Hayley Wain (Northern)

28 - 07 - 10

a snippet from the Celia Wade Brown article in last week’s Capital Times:

“Wade-Brown believes the priority for Wellington is building a $200 million light-rail network.
If elected mayor, she would try to halt the building of two new tunnels at Mount Victoria and the Terrace, in favour of a light-rail network.
“New tunnels will bring more traffic into city. With the population growth predicted, we actually need to change how we do transport.”
She believes future generations will be more willing to pay for light-rail than tunnels, as it will provide resilience in the face of peak oil.
“With light rail, Lambton Quay, Courtenay Place and Adelaide Road would carry nearly double the passengers of the existing bus network. If you look at Lambton Quay now you can tell it’s not a bold statement, we are now entering bus jam status.”

2 - 08 - 10

Serious, ahh, only as serious as I ever am. (That meaning: let me downlaod and take a look at the form first, since I’m out of the country, and completing it, plus doing any campaign would be sorta difficult.)

Kerry Prendergast
4 - 08 - 10

Hi, Mayor Kerry here. The city needs a Mayor who stands up for good design in the city. I see myself as such a person and would hope that others do too.
Quality in design is a collective effort. Your Council puts a lot of effort into our public buildings and streetscape in the hope that this will inspire private owners to build better buildings. Unfortunately economic issues often dictate cheaper outcomes – which we cannot control! If you have new and bright ideas about how to get the better designs I’d love to hear them.
There is much more info for you below if you want detail:

A few instances where Council, under my leadership, is committed and has delivered good design outcomes;
– Signatory to the Urban Design Protocol
– Building on Council’s current Public Domain Policy and finalising Public Space Domain Manual
– LTCCP budgets committed to street upgrade and greening the city
– Strategic design leadership through the Wellington 2040 City Central Framework and W2040 Strategy work
– promoting urban design and heritage outcomes for the city across a range of projects in association with other partnerships and committed people to quality places (e.g. Midland Park; Cobblestone Park, Waitangi Park)
– using design competitions to stimulate creativity and innovation through design (e.g. outer-T waterfront; Cobblestone Park, Waitangi Park)
– In March 2006, the Council completed a two-year study into the effectiveness of the District Plan’s built environment rules. The study found that Wellington’s District Plan has been successful in promoting a contained city and preventing urban sprawl. The Central Area Design Guide provides a focus on the design and appearance of new buildings (rather than having rigid bulk and location requirements. Building proposals are assessed the relevant Central Area Design Guide.

Council can not do it alone and good urban design needs to work on all levels to create social, cultural, environmental and economic value. Therefore, Council is committed to ensuring that Wellington is well designed and this should be priority for all of us who are maintaining and shaping the built environment.

Eye of the Fish | A wide-angle view of architecture, urban design and life in Wellington
6 - 08 - 10

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