I’ve never yet been invited to the Property Council Award night, despite my leading position in the Architectural media sphere, and so I wasn’t there the other night when Press Hall was awarded the grand winner prize. That’s a pity, as I would have liked to be there – to have applauded like crazy with everyone else, as it is such a good development.
It’s a Maurice Clark development, of course, doing what he does best: seeing the potential in something run down, buying something that others don’t want, creating a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and in this case, making a former old industrial space into Wellington’s most hip new eatery.
There have been attempts at Food Markets before in Wellington, all of which had emphasised the low-cost, back-street, slightly dodgy nature of the schemes and their developers. David Blackmore and the Wellington Markets down on Wakefield St were the first I remember, in a run-down old building where One Market Lane now stands. Great food, scuzzy old building, good location – but you were never quite sure if it was you or the bricks that would come off best if and when the Big One came to town. The Left Bank development by Ian Cassells, where there are some great bookshops, an excellent Mexican restaurant and the well-priced Satay Malaysia, but the world’s most crap architecture and a total feeling that it would be a death-trap in case of fire or earthquake. The Chow Brother’s development on Willis St, which just makes me ill to look at it, even before trying the food. And of course the total shit-hole that is Courtenay Central, which just seems to go from bad to worse. How much more undesirable can it actually get? Who is the developer who is making these bad property decisions? Who the hell is the architect who is designing this awful mess that CC has become?
By comparison therefore, and in glorious contrast to it, Press Hall is a wondrous thing. Not just in terms of the deliciousness of the 12 lovely eateries inside, but also the raw yet not dodgy nature of the renovated architecture. The bare bones of the old Evening Post printing room. The new urban Lane, where once was an old rundown office. The cedar frontage of Tommy Millions Pizza joint where smells and tastes combine. All hail Press Hall – all hail Maurice Clark!
I wonder what he could do with Courtenay Central…..?
PS – in case you’re wondering, by “leading position in the Architectural media sphere” I do of course mean that I occupy the space of hidden recluse, writing posts that possibly only three people ever read….
I don’t read it – I just look at the pictures.
Well, i’m glad i went back and put some pictures in here then !
So: you’re person number one, a faithful reader / picture looker since ways back.
Mark me as viewer #two and for what it’s worth I knew nothing about this space until now as my job is up the other end of town at the moment
It looks like a good space and I will take the other half out there next time we hit town – apart from Tommy Millions what are people’s recommendations on the food front?
And let’s not forget the food hall under the big, black BNZ – the birthplace of St Pierre’s sushi and the Turkish (I think) pizza and pasta servery which has been knocking out big, puffy slices for decades.
I’m a bot, so technically I’ve never read a post. My comments are generated by sophisticated algorithms as part of a grand social experiment.
Also, I’m keen to check out this new foodcourt soon!
The food options in there are quite varied. The dish I tried at the Fratelli pasta bar was delicious (if expensive).
Ahem, Four and counting here!
This is awesome thanks. Conversions are fascinating for their own reasons but this block’s mixture made it feel like a real challenge from this ignoramus’s perspective. Such a complex rabbitwarren of alleys, corridors, medianeras and odd isolated oubliette-like wells open to the sky, with a few tiny feral green things at the bottom… Again, well done Maurice.
You’ve summed it up really nicely. Also, great summary of the others too. Bang on (i.e. I share your sentiments completely)
There’s such tempting rooftop-like space on the setback above Tommy Millions – is it open? Can one go there? Perfectly elevated above the street to be engaged with it and yet apart… *drool
Well, its five if you count m-d, but apparently that’s just a bot, so not actually a human. Damn clever bot mind you. The grand social experiment is clearly working then…!
Isabella – I’ll meet you up on the roof at lunch time tomorrow. Let’s scale the ramparts.
Whoah, medianeras. I had to look it up in Google Translate and I’m still not sure what it means. Party walls?
@starkive – yeah, pretty much
Isabella, starkive and greenwelly – indeed, a new word for moi aussi – i thank you all for bringing that to my attention. I reckon it probably translates as “the in-between place” rather than “the most average of places…” but yes, triple-headed dragons and hot argentinian graffitiosos in designer sunnies dangling from home-made scaffolding apparatus have made my day.
OK – a question. Is using a spray can to paint a wall not THE most inefficient way of painting a wall, ever? When I’m busy tagging my local barrio, I find that a can of Dayglo doesn’t go very far and I get a sore finger within minutes. How many zillions of cans must be used for a projecto like this?
Here to help
;-) Fantastic, thank you 60….
Isabella, your dream has come true!
Let’s make a party of it. Seamonkey? Greenly? Isabella? 60mPa? Starkive? Lunch at Amador? Wednesday 1pm?