I went past the old Thorndon Tavern last week, which is starting to be transformed into the new Thai embassy. To my delight, the old accretions of the former pub had been stripped away, and the bare concrete skeleton exposed. While the concrete frame of the building is amazing – only 4 massive columns, with 4 massive beams, brilliantly designed by Colin Gunter at NZ Breweries, and each floor an exposed grid of concrete waffle slab that spans from side to side and cantilevers daringly out – the bit that captivated me was the stair. The bulldozers had been in and cleared away the vegetation out the front, leaving the dynamic design of the stair looking for all the world like the magnificent rocket ship of the future that it is, still firmly pointed skyward, alone and proud.
It is the best staircase in Wellington – and how proud I was that the designers, who ever they are, had chosen to leave the stair there, clearly as a feature in which to play a central part of the design for the new Thai embassy. So, I scootled back there yesterday to take some photos – and, alas, alack, caloo, calaay, oh unhappy day – they’ve knocked the bugger off.
There is now, no stair. A big pile of rubble, to be sure, but unless they have sawn it off at the trunk and spirited it away to staircase heaven, that particular stair is no more. It has shuffled off this mortal coil, gone to join the choir invisible. It is an ex-stair.
And I’m really sad to see it gone.
And I don’t have a decent photo of the stair. Update: But I do now – many thanks to regular contributor M-D who has sent in these 3 great B+W images. Thanks M-D ! It is now just the images that are left….