MaximusMarch 14, 2009
Here at the Fish, we’re doing our best to be as nice as we can be this year, as it’s going to be a tough year for all of you architects out there. So therefore we’ve been avoiding reviewing some buildings altogether as there may just be nothing good to say about them at all. Honest, I’ve been biting my tongue so much that the water round me is turning red. I mean, have you seen the size of that thing next to the Railway Station? Good grief, and its not even finished yet.
What a monster! And yet, in the spirit of trying very hard not to be dismissive of it, let’s ignore that particular building (for now) and have a look at another little number nearby by the same architect. Yes, it’s the gigantic waste of airspace and money that is the Supreme Court.
The plan has been published at last, and we can see here what a grand extravagant building it is. On the right side is the Heritage courtroom complex, with unused but beautifully restored interiors and exteriors. On the left is a dome of space, with a bench for 3 or 5 judges to sit for probably 5 or 10 days a year, and otherwise to remain as an object of beauty and costly overspending of tax-payers money. Never mind – its the judiciary! The tax-payer will pick up the bill! Onwards! Tally ho!
The section through the building shows the domed ceiling / roof that is the heart of the new Supreme Court.
It has a fantastic looking inner dome-like structure, cunningly depicted here in steel members, and clad in a white egg-shell structure. And that’s the thing: for all the life of me, I can’t stop thinking that the dome / shell is just a giant egg. There was another story of a giant egg too, that I remember from my days as a little fish.
Yes, of course, its the naughty nautical tale of Sinbad the Sailor and the tales of the Seven Seas, in particularly where he finds himself at the mercy of a giant Roc (probably a form of Peregrine falcon).
The gigantic Roc (in some stories, a two-headed Roc, which must be even harder to keep fed), takes Sinbad to his nest as a tasty arabian snack (gently seasoned in Sea Salt, no doubt), and in the mean time the Roc’s egg hatches. No doubt causing havoc with lesser cast members, and temptations of a giant omelette to prepare the men for the next leg of their sea voyage.
But all jollility aside, and I’ll try very hard to keep out of my mind the image of a giant feathered bird emerging from the roof in months to come (oh dear, I hope that I haven’t just implanted that thought in your heads, have I? No, of course not – I’m sure that the same thought occurred to you as well), I am actually quite overcome with the sort of birds nest of metallic and rather poetic louvres that have appeared on the upper floor as cladding.
Any resemblance to a giant Roc birdsnest is of course entirely unintended, although also rather apt. While I’m not sure what the material is for the ‘pohutukawa’ silhouette shaped panels (they look like solid bronze, and probably cost like solid gold, but one hopes they are just welded steel or aluminium with a good paint job), the end effect certainly is a startlingly beautiful box of twiggy bits, with even little red flashes of blossom / glass caught in the upper limbs of the ‘trees’.
The effect of a full surround of this pattern will be fascinating both from the inside and the outside, and it will provide a total aesthetic contrast of the fully restored and totally pointless heritage part of the Court complex.
One last picture, that I just thought you might like, of Sinbad himself, in one of the many guises over the years: