LeviathanDecember 16, 2015
Gordon Wilson flats
The hearing on the future of the Gordon Wilson flats is in it’s last day, and opinions over the building and it’s possible future are varying widely. “Specialists” viewpoints are widely opposed, of course, and currently the “developer” Maurice Clark’s opinion that the building would be like a “turd covered in glitter” is getting some prominent airplay. The media loves a good soundbite… But Mr Clark is not really a developer – he is an Engineer and a Building Contractor, and just about the most experienced person we have in NZ on restoring big heritage buildings.
I find it interesting that this is getting a lot of attention now, because when I wrote a post on this in July last year, no one seemed to care a bit. Today the people presenting evidence include Ken Davis, an architect who studied the history of the building – probably the world’s living authority on the historical aspects of the building – as well as Dr Julia Gatley, who literally wrote the book on the subject of the history of the modern movement’s architecture in New Zealand, and also the Architectural Centre, who are Wellington’s voice on matters architectural since 1946. They’ve been part of the Wellington scene since this building was just a hole in the ground. I hope that the DomPost gives them as equally prominent coverage when they present their evidence.
The public’s viewpoints are, of course, totally rabid, spectacularly uninformed, and sad/amusing to read. Despite the Gordon Wilson flats being one of New Zealand’s most ground-breaking pieces of Modern architecture, people out there just don’t get it! I present some of the choice examples of NZ public giving vent to their opinions….
It’s a fugly building, just like our (Auk) old council building & police station. It’s time the public (rate-payers?) got to vote on the monstrosities that are fobbed on us, esp. many apartments. Good buildings should get a break, eye-sores a penalty.
It doesnt look like a stunning example of architecture we’d want to keep! Can’t imagine tourists flocking to it
Both sides are telling porkies. Concrete “cancer” is common and generally not a big deal. It would be rectified during the refurbishment and strengthening works….. the developer is clearly there to prevent a biased, worse case scenario! That said these buildings have absolutely no heritage value what so ever, its not an example of outstanding architecture unless find beauty in uninspiring, soulless concrete boxes. They should not be heritage listed simply because they’re 40 or 50 years old. Heritage listing should be reserved for structures of real historic value or intrinsic beauty and creative not some depressing monolith that wouldn’t look out of place in a J’burg slum…… their time has ended and the bulldozers should roll!
Heritage? Looks like it’s straight out of a UK housing project! Drab old ’60’s-’70’s dunger! Knock the dump over!
If this is a shining light of NZ architecture I despair.
Heritage listed?! What were they thinking? It’s one of the ugliest building I have ever seen.
The flats are ugly and the building is entirely out of place/wrong size for its surroundings. Bulldoze it.
A listed building?Are these folks for real?Looks like a Soviet era apartment block in Moscow.They could make a few bucks selling tickets to see it demolished.BOOOOM…ah a better view now.