The Eye of the Fish

Maximus
August 7, 2008

Courtenay Park update

The simple beauty of rusting steel keeps getting better at Courtenay Park. These pictures speak without words:

image094.jpg 

image095.jpg 

image097.jpg

When the sun is out, the new park gets quite popular, especially on a sunny lunchtime. 

cplaza099.jpg

DavidP
7 - 08 - 08

I like the park. But the apartment block conversion across the street? Hideous, especially in their choice of paint. Did they employ a blind person to pick the colours?

welly
7 - 08 - 08

The Iron patterned sculpture are stylized maps, one of lambton quay to the railway station, the other one includes Willis street across to frank kitts park

One thing thou, Where is the clock they took away when they built the park, and promised to return…

Tick tock
7 - 08 - 08

The clock got damaged by contractors when it was being removed prior ro the revamp, and it’s still being fixed. Shouldn’t be too far away, though…

M-D
7 - 08 - 08

Nice details, but I’m sorry, urban space is more than just design at the fine detail level… this is one of the grimmest new urban spaces I’ve seen. Can’t wait for those trees to grow…

rondo
7 - 08 - 08

M-D: Grim? You should get out more… Trees grow, trees get cut down, or damaged by idiots. (or yes, in the case of the Chows, cut down by idiots). But as a urban park? Too many orange bricks, yes, we probably all agree on that. But they were used due to budget cuts or something i think.

The seats are very cool though, can’t be denied…

M-D
7 - 08 - 08

Grim, Grim, Grim.

I’m not denying the seats are cool (in that hard-edged kind of way that appeals to architects in particular, but not many other people), but their minimalism (details aside – again, an architect’s wet dream but of little value beyond that), and the paving (whether due to budget cuts – which is what I heard also – or not is irrelevant), when combined with the lack of vertical elements (sure, there are those big poster things, but they are not well integrated with the seating/park itself) and lack of ‘spatiality’, all add up to G-R-I-M.

The trees will help. Can’t wait.

M-D
7 - 08 - 08

PS – before you think I’m all tree-hugging Romantic anti-urban naturist fruitcake, I don’t advocate trying to recreate nature in the city or anything of the sort. My support for trees in this instance is because they are all that I can see that might ameliorate the grimness of the park – by adding some vertical/spatial definition. Obviously (I hope) this was part of the designers’ intentions otherwise the trees would not have been included – so if the park (imho) appears grim now, it is because it is not yet ‘finished’ and won’t be until the trees reach their intended maturity.

rondo
7 - 08 - 08

“tree-hugging Romantic anti-urban naturist fruitcake” ? the thought never entered my mind, until now.

Unfortunately, from now on, that’s the only way I’ll be able to think of you….

– hold on a sec : naturist. Are you using that in the meaning of:
1) “the practice of wearing no clothes in a vacation camp or other leisure activities; nudism.
or
2) the worship of nature or natural objects. ?

M-D
7 - 08 - 08

I might be one, but I’m definitely not the other…

rondo
7 - 08 - 08

Grim is this: http://jschumacher.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/collapsed_house.jpg

or this: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3007/2663660427_5586d9f98e.jpg?v=0

Grim may also be the sight of seeing you, whoever you are, naked, in a public park.

Jason
7 - 08 - 08

Honestly, I think I preferred the hustle and/or bustle of the previous configuration, with the busy, often dangerous service lane and the little patch of grass. It would’ve been cheaper, less unpopular with Aotea Pathology/Medlab/Whatever patrons (although apparently there are a similar number of carparks as before), and we still could have had cool maps and seats.

As it is I can’t work out why the bus stop on this side of the road (I’m in the icafe right next to the park right now) wasn’t moved up to the wider part of the footpath and an attractive shelter built where those billboard type things are.

I would also have preferred a | | | |

| | | |

| | | |configuration of the billboards but I can’t really justify that other than as a preference over the current / \ / \ / \ arrangement.

Jason
7 - 08 - 08

Oh, the reason I mentioned moving the bus stop was to avoid the bottleneck right before the pedestrian crossing and the dangers inherent in having a bus stop in that location.

What happens is the bus goes to pull out and people go to cross the road (crossing at pedestrian crossings is always slightly iffy, I mean humans can’t handle encountering one person coming toward them on the street, we do that little ‘excuse me’ waltz where one goes left and the other goes right, so giving way to pedestrians if they’re about to cross was always gonna be dodgy, although I agree entirely with the idea of it) and often these people have just got off the bus. The bus driver will start to accelerate and then stop with a jolt and then start again and then jolt again etc. etc. Meanwhile there are cars and taxis trying to sneak past the bus while its stopped and often they are confused because its actually stopped for pedestrians and not letting people off and then pedestrians are at risk from sneaky cars, and neither party has a lot of visibility because of the big bus!

erentz
8 - 08 - 08

I like the look of steel. Wish it were used more and were considered for bridges and such these days, especially the odd flyover in the city, because they tend to be quite slimmer than reinforced concrete, and more attractive.

Anyway just back today for a visit and so wandering around to see whats changed, I think I’m in the park is a bit grim camp. But maybe thats the weather.

M-D
8 - 08 - 08

rondo – yeah grim (but I’d argue in a characterful way) that those images might be, neither of them are touting themselves as a designed urban space.

Apples and oranges methinks…

Anyway, I’m thinking grim in terms of bleak and desolate – which to be fair, is pretty impressive to achieve in such a small space. Maybe the designers’ had talent after all…

Maximus
11 - 09 - 08

A few letters from the DomPost – got to reprint them here for the amusement of Eye of the Fish fans… :
4 Sept 2008, a confused Viv Turner writes:
“Dear Sir,
What on earth is this about?
For weeks, I’ve been aghast at the awful posters in that equally awful new “park” on the corner of Wellington’s Taranaki St and Courtenay Place.
At first, I assumed they would be temporary.
Then I waited for someone to complain, but no one has so I’m forced into action myself.
Surely, I’m not the only person who cringes every time they see them?
Who wants to look at a picture of an ATM? What kind of mind control is Wellington City Council playing at? Or what about that thing that looks like a tongue or tentacle? I’ll pay $100 to anyone who can tell me what it is.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast and her cronies reckon that this is an “arts capital”. Not only do they inflict some dead, uninspiring and unwanted park on us, they also torture us with this Getty Images-type of nonsense.
I love the fact that the council will pay more than $1 million to pave a corner of road that was just fine as it was but it is too cheap to commission an artist to rescue us all from the “bland branding” that are those tedious paving stones.
VIV TURNER
Island Bay”

Maximus
11 - 09 - 08

then followed today 11 Sept by a reply:
“Who’s idea was this?
“I wholeheartedly agree with Viv Turner’s comments about Wellington’s new inner city park.
First, this isn’t a park. It’s a glorified footpath. What Wellington City Council has done here is take some valuable, inner-city parking and a nice area with grass and trees, and turn it into a paved footpath covered in what looks like rusted scrap metal and adorned with large, visually assaulting images that have no link at all to our city.
I wonder who thought this was a good idea and why on earth it cost so much to create an area with only a few seats and lots of pavers.
CHRIS RICHARDS
Brooklyn”

Philip
12 - 09 - 08

Interestingly similar, the pentagon memorial:

http://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl/2008/09/11/memorial-del-pentagono-kbas-studio/

Not that cantilevered seating is anything new though…

The taranaki end of the courtenay park is looking very lush & green now – much less ‘grim’. Hopefully the other end will soon follow.

rondo
12 - 09 - 08

Spooky. Very similar. And sad to see that the comments on that, even in Spanish, are still ranting on about the September 11 crash into the Pentagon not having happened at all…. Sigh… conspiracy theories never go away…..

“este memorial es mas estupido que el de jaime guzman. tal como dice sb vean zeitgeist o simplemente vean las fotos post “colision del avion” con el pentagono y veran que es un fraude, nada se estrello ahi , el famoso vuelo 77 no existe, asi como el united 93 (del que se hizo una pelicula). estos gringos… tienen el pais que se merecen , el presidente que se merecen … que terrible.”

M-D
13 - 10 - 08

Hmmm:

http://64.207.55.2/project_profile/browserecord.php?-lay=Form%20View&-action=browse&-recid=641

Tick tock
4 - 01 - 10

The clock got damaged by contractors when it was being removed prior ro the revamp, and it's still being fixed. Shouldn't be too far away, though…