The Eye of the Fish

Leviathan
October 29, 2019

Pretty Awful in pink

It’s a tough life being an architect – even tougher when others don’t respect what you do. You spend all your time working on a modern marvel of a building, slogging out the hours to create a building that will last the years, suspending it on base isolators to make it last 1000 years, and then one day someone comes along and ruins things.

Remember this building? This was the waterfront “Site 10” building that was developed by Willis Bond, amidst much controversy, and is now completed and occupied by PWC – and others. Remember the promise of a rooftop viewing platform that the city could use to look out over the city and the harbour? Remember the grand ground floor space that was going to be available for use by the city as a “living room” or winter garden space, internal and yet surrounded by glass, for all of us to partake in?

You may not remember this – but you may remember that Waterfront Watch protested to the Environment Court that a building should be built on this site at all, and so then the Environment Court decreed that the top floor must be removed. Pow! In an instant, all public amenities like a public viewing platform were expunged. The group floor facilities were removed as well. What has resulted is a building that is very much less than it could have been, and yet it is still a fine piece of modern office block. An immense double height cantilever reaches out, spanning above a void, almost overshadowing the old Ferry Building.

The PWC building is a little confused, with a mixture of several different types of cladding: concrete precast in some areas, angled cedar walls in others, still others clad in copper, but it is a structural marvel. The cantilever is quite incredible – spoiled, perhaps, by the intrusion of one or two columns that are an anomaly – (is this a true cantilever or not?) – but all in all, this building is reasonably well-accomplished. Or was, until Flamingo Joe’s came to roost, and royally screwed things up.

Clearly the proprietors of Flamingo Joe’s are not architects, not have any architectural education to architectural sensibilities, but the most hideous of suburban sensibility is that of the proverbial “white picket fence”. Only one thing could make it worse: to colour it pink. This pink picket fence has, for me, at last finally and thoroughly debased the PWC building with its stupid, ill-conceived and thoroughly awful travesty in hideous day-glo fluorescent pink. This was to have been the place where Wellingtonians were welcome – a space and place to call our own – on the Resource Consent drawings as a public space. Instead, now, this hideous piece of suburbia has driven me out – along with any remaining sane Wellingtonians.

stuart gardyne
30 - 10 - 19

wow! I suspect and hope this has been done without reference to the development agreement and their lease agreement. It is contrary to the Waterfront Framework. Totally unacceptable.

Lets see how long it remains there.

Leviathan
31 - 10 - 19

With a bit of luck someone from Athfield’s will still be reading this blog – but regardless, half of Wellington must have seen this monstrosity by now – there were certainly many people walking, cycling and scootering past here this week in the sunshine. Stuart – do you know if there is still a TAG active on the waterfront? Or has that been disbanded?

Henry Filth
31 - 10 - 19

Why so polite?

aom
31 - 10 - 19

The tacky fence looks great – should set the scene for the next link in the great wall of Willis Bond on Site 9. As for Stuart’s comment, haven’t various hearings established that the Framework has no relevance, just like Jan what’s his face’s expensive report, the opinions of other internationally recognised experts and the Environment Court decision that cost WW over $100,000? Thank goodness we had earthquake issues with the Centreport developments. At least now, when entering the city, there is some visual evidence that Wellington is a harbour city.

KLK
1 - 11 - 19

I’m torn.

If I recall correctly, this was to be open space for the public to both see and walkthrough. Which was good.

However, I’m also a big fan of ground level activation which draws more people in, which I think this will offer (when the weather plays ball). And its not like there isn’t a wide space next to this building to walk through.

Perhaps the compromise would have been to only allow seating on the seaward side (you can see it in some of the shots) and for the thoroughfare to be left vacant.

starkive
6 - 11 - 19

Caught sight of the offending item yesterday and my first impression was that you had turned the pink filter up a tad. It struck me as quite a bit less lurid – pretty inconsequential really. Be in the skip soon enough I’d guess.

The closing off of public space is something else…

Leviathan
6 - 11 - 19

starkive – honest, no photoshopping done. I just waited till the evening sunlight was on the picket fence, and it almost glowed in the dark. But it is all just so bloody boring and suburban and predictably land-grabby – I know they want to define their “patch” but it is just totally unnecessary. By contrast, down a couple of blocks at Queens Wharf, I had a lovely afternoon in the sun at a table at a bar – no barriers around, just bricks underfoot, tables and chairs, waitresses serving beer and burgers, big teflon sails overhead – all fantastic. All without a bloody pink picket fence. I hate it.

Leviathan
6 - 11 - 19

I’m actually surprised that none of the architects from Athfields have shown up here. They must be aware of it by now – we know who you are – you should do something about it. Isn’t it the architect’s role to be the saviour of human taste? Why doesn’t Ath’s step in and kick some pink picket planks up someone’s pink picket arse?

Ben Ormsby
7 - 11 - 19

If you want to talk about hideous suburban sensibility, turn around from the pink fence and look at the six lanes of private vehicles flying past. That is a much larger issue that ruins all of the waterfront by cutting it off with a massive traffic sewer of suburban SUVs and Utes. If you want more public space for wellingtonians, advocate for taking space from cars because there are literally hectares of it in central wellington dedicated to people storing their private property. At least here I can go to flamingo joes and sit behind the ghastly pink fence. I can’t sit in an occupied surface car park or a traffic lane on one of the quays.

Jm
10 - 11 - 19

It might be part of their liquor licence requirements. Maybe even the colour.