The Eye of the Fish

May 26, 2009


From our watery vantage point out in the harbour, we Fish survey the shore with interest. The other day (when the sun was out: remember what the sun looks like?) we spied something that we thought was odd. This first building is for some nameless private company, with a big blobby amoeba like logo splashed on the end facade. I think that once upon a time it was designed by Craig Craig Moller? Built in the early 80s as far as I remember, it is an interesting design: the first grapplings of Gordon Moller perhaps in going from a simple housing bach form at which he was so good, towards a vernacular of towers with roofs, of which his 70s Boulcott St building was probably the first.
And nearby is this building, which was always just another bad example of 80s PoMo with an elongated colonnade on the top floor, and is currently occupied by yet another nameless government department. I have no idea who designed it – perhaps you do, and can tell us – but I doubt that it was CCM. Its not bad enough to be a WAM 80s PoMo number, but its pretty close. Bland, dull and impersonal: the perfect building for a civil service.
And then I noticed that shape. The apex of the roof-like cutout seemed oddly familiar. If I just swam around a little more…
There. They seem to line up perfectly. Are they by any chance related? The similarities seem too close to be an accident. Are we meant to assume that one has, like an amoeba, just spawned the other? Is there a story behind here that I just don’t know? Am I the first to notice, or has everyone always known this and am I perhaps the last to know? Do tell…

26 - 05 - 09

These certainly weren’t the only 80s-ish buildings to emulate pediments, gables and various touches of faux-historical Legoland. ABN Amro house on Customhouse Quay is an obvious example, and one that WAM were sheepish enough to omit from their monograph.

Actually, I have to say I rather like the top example. The detailing is twee and dated, though that may soon go through a phase of ironic kitsch appreciation followed by actual re-evaluation. But the massing, largely driven by the need to relate to its venerable neighbour (Old St Paul’s), seems to work rather well to not only mitigate its mass and introduce some human scale, but also to introduce some verticality and a little bit of vigour.

26 - 05 - 09

Impedimentia my dear, I had wondered where you had got to since Goscinny and Uderzo…. yes, that first example is somewhat vigorous and human scale with its pitched roofs, and certainly has a massing of forms that makes it quite light-hearted next to the stolid nature of the second one…. more power to it!

I magine also that it may convert to apartments quite well…. …and of course, just out of shot, there is the new buildings for the Eyes and Ears of NZ and the USA – the spookshop. Although I have no idea what that may look like, i suspect more like the later building than the former?

26 - 05 - 09

Spooks building (To be owned by the Tenths Trust)

26 - 05 - 09

The “red blobby” logo is Revera (previously Hosting and Datacentre Services, previously Hitachi Data Systems). Informally they call the red blob “the turtle”. No idea about the parentage of the building in question, mind.

26 - 05 - 09

The Revera Bldg does lean towards a CCM design.

And from what I know, the CCM job on Boulcott was from 1983.

27 - 05 - 09

it’s a curious thing that no memory of this building really exists before the web came into being – indeed, it is probably a sign of the way that the world is moving that google will eventually replace memory. Is there any point in school children learning things, and memorising subjects, when in future, and in real life, they will just go and google the answer? Why do you need to know when the Crimean War was, (my guess, about 1898), when with a quick check on google tells me it is – hold on – 1853 to 1856. There. Google better than memory on the first go.

The interesting thing is that while everything post 1995ish is on the web, and lots of ‘ancient’ history is on the web, there are missing years like the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. It just doesn’t exist on the web, and as such – doesn’t really exist in our memory. Mind you, it doesn’t exist on CCM’s website either, which is, no surprise, closed for renovation.

28 - 05 - 09

The building that is occupied by ‘yet another nameless government department’ was designed by Structon Group. I understand that Ross Brown was the designer.

28 - 05 - 09

Thank You Geriatrix – i always knew that old people had a point, and now i know why – memory banks for when the web fails us. Structon – hmm, there goes my theory about a connection to the CCM building…

I just wanted to share this with you : our first Hebrew spam, and I’m going to let this through, but shed of its essential spamminess. We’ve had plenty of Russian spam (we’ve had over 6,500 spam in total since this blog started) and the occasional French spam, with one Hindi spam, one Arabic spam, although as yet, no Klingon spam – but just in case you’re feeling down and want to buy some schmutter for schlepping your schlong along (probably just viagra from Tel Aviv), here’s your chance:

???? ?????, ??? ???? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ???????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ???? ?? ?????:
????? ??? ??? ???

(???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ??????? ??? ????????!: ???????? ?? ?? ????? ???? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?????, ????? ????? ??????? ??? ???? ?????

????? ?????? ??????? ?? ???? ???? ??????: ??????
?????? C ????? ????? ??? ??? ?????? 29.90?? 100 ??????, ?? 79.90 500 ?????

28 - 05 - 09

According to Google translate, it is for Vitamin C

28 - 05 - 09

I thought a well educated Fish like you would have known who was in that building. Ministry of Education mostly… And also the office of the Auditor.
There is quite a lot going on in Thorndon you know….

28 - 05 - 09

>there are missing years like the 70s, 80s, and early 90s

I’ve done my best to forget the 70s. I suspect Google is the same.

If you receive an e-mail warning you that tinned ham causes swine flu, then ignore it. It’s just spam.

Evolved Flightlessness
4 - 06 - 09

It’s pretty much acknowledged that google has become our collective memory. No one really needs to remember anything anymore. But the future may be even more dire …

Try searching for 2+2=

Yes, we don’t even need to understand arithmetic anymore. Just ask The Google.

nameless government wonk
26 - 06 - 09

Yes they are related. Each is home to the piolicy and operational arms of the same nameless government department. Revera House is occupied by the Office of the Auditor-General and the Pipitea building by Audit New Zealand. The alignment of the apex would probably appeal to the exacting nature of the auditors within each building.

I’ve seen the plans for Revera House and I thought I remembered it being Craig Craig Moller.

27 - 06 - 09

nameless government wonk – thank you. And don’t be so hard on yourself – I’m sure that you’re still a vital part of the greater governmental machine… Good to know that the Auditors are being nicely exacting.