The joy and sense of fun that is the Wellington Waterfront never ceases to amaze me. Today in the local paper, an expose is made on a number of new / newly released projects for the waterfront, of which I just can’t ignore. Entitled, perhaps a little too zoomorphicaly, “Is that toilet a crayfish or an aardvark?“, the Dom Post unveils attention on a number of brand new proposed features.
Some of them we’ve heard about before, like the WhareWaka, which appears to have a new plan and a new articulated skin (shown below). It looks articulated, with a series of triangulated panels making up a hardened carapace. Some time ago there were two buildings planned for there, neither of them filling me much with joy, but this one looks far more interesting, and despite the low quality render, looks like it may sit well against the Star Boating Club buildings as well.
Other projects unveiled to the public today are decidedly more boundary pushing, with a double toilet block proposed for Kumutoto taking centre stage and the headline. There’s no doubt that this part of Wellington needs more public toilets, and these ones have evidently set out to make a scene when you’re making a splash. They look as though they are made of a series of curved orange plates, so perhaps rusty steel, and they look alive! WWL bossman Ian Pike (he of the moody underwharf pile ride with Mayor Kerry we noted some months back) says that: “It is an absolute work of art, a sculpture piece that has variously been called an aardvark, anteater and crayfish but we haven’t given it a name.”

I’m gunning more for hermit crab or barnacle. Intriguingly, the paper says that “The design was the winning entry from a competition held between 30 young designers from the Studio of Pacific Architecture.” So that’s what they get up to in their secret lofty offices! There’s also some tosh from some of the council about how the building is or isn’t like Hundertwasser’s tiled toilet ediface at Kawakawa, but that’s all pretty irrelevant. Kawakawa is so small that it has only one thing going for it – actually, normally a bus full of Japanese tourists going for it with cameras, which make it very difficult to find a place to pee: whereas this orange-hued wee timorous beastie will just be one of our many things to intreat you to walk along the waterfront.
Other projects also intrigue me. A Michael Tuffery sculpture of giant kina rising to the surface is proposed to sit submerged near the new bridge at Kumutoto, while a starlit ice-skating rink is proposed for under the sails at Queens Wharf. We’re spoiled – Auckland is still trying to come up with one good idea for its waterfront, while we’re going for an extra ten or so.
But wait, there’s more.
There’s a “proposed building” made of an assembly of containers for the Maritime Police – aimed for their site near the old Ferry Building, and a giant inflatable market stall to possibly take the place of the buildings at Waitangi Park, until someone fronts up with the cash to build those. That’s a great idea – it’s bitterly cold down there at the market on the weekend, and a groovy looking inflatable building would be fun. There was one erected temporarily there a few years back for one of the International Festival of the Arts – and it transformed the city with it’s vast white wobbly body, like a giant beached whale perhaps. What an incredibly vibrant city we live in. I love it.