I saw the headline and I was packed and ready, to answer the call of the nation. Normally they just send up the Fish signal, much like the Bat symbol, but this is the first time my moniker has made it to the front page of the DomPost.
Had my site boots, hi-vi and my hard hard ready for action too, until I saw that they wanted someone else instead. Not me at all – who would have thought two folk would have the same name?! Yes, they want the other one – the bloke with the sandles, brass vest and the short stabby thing. Sigh. Not the Fish with a nice scaly cloak and a fine pair of flippers.
There is, it seems, no call out yet for Architects, although they’ll take all the Engineers they can find.
Have you tried to get your engineer on the phone recently? They’re all down south, stickering the ruins of Christchurch with a traffic light ream of photocopy paper – Green for “Go“, Yellow for “Hold on A Bit“, and Red for “Stop – don’t move, it could land on top of you“. At least, I think that those are the official designations.
I’m thinking that perhaps NZ could also deploy a phalanx of architects, stickering buildings with an alternative array of coloured paper. How about a vibrant Lilac for “This has heritage worth holding onto“, a mid-range Beige for “Not a bad effort, it’ll do for now, and it’s still standing, so we may as well keep it“, and then a really deep blacky-brown poo colour for “This building has always been ugly, let’s take the chance to knock it down now while no one is looking“.
I must confess, this is just a version of an idea put out by Wellington’s old school architectural commenters, The Architectural Centre, who published a Manifesto a few years ago with a number of very valid points. The one I really liked was something like Bad Buildings must be Eliminated. The danger that Christchurch is going to have in the near future, if Bomber Brownlee has his way with his demolition crews, is that Christchurch may be left with a plethora of painfully dull and bland buildings. Many of the nice modern ones have bit the dust as well, although there’s no doubt the ugly crap of the world, like Harvey Norman sheds, will have survived unscathed. But is that what we want the city to look like after this quakey time? Does Christchurch really want to become one vast suburban mall? Only they can answer that.
Maybe we need another colour coding as well, by the Citizens of Christchurch themselves, using that universally understood colour range of the lovelorn – Pink for “I love this building“, Yellow for “Tie a ribbon round it, we’ll keep to Memories” and perhaps Blue for “Blue sky thinking needed here – you guys really need to raise your game“. They’re the ones who really know their buildings.
Canterbury: feel free to put this into action when the cordon is raised.