In all probability, this year is going to be a bit of a quieter year than previous years, especially on the Design and Construction front. Auckland has been in a constructional doldrum for the last 18 months or so, while Wellington has been curiously bouyant, but realistically, this is not a state that is going to continue. Although there are no real reasons for our economy to crash screaming to the ground in the same way that America’s has, we’ll be catching their cold no doubt, and giving it a darn good sneeze in sympathy.
I get amused by media queries asking “Is the worst over yet?” which must have been written by the 16 year old office junior at the DomPost or StarTimes: the answer clearly is the Bachman Turner Overdrive self-titled song, B- B- B- Baby, you….The building boom of the 2000s has come to an end at last, leaving us all some breathing space, to find ourselves, examine our past works, think of what might have been, and in many cases, to go forth and find new jobs. Hopefully not all at Burger King. Q:What do you say to an architect in 2009? A:Can I get fries with that?
Property development of the mindless RichMastery sort has thankfully run its course, with the whole cult of tiny “Investor” apartments probably stagnant for a year or two, at least until the credit crunch relaxes. Even the in-house architects churning out such dross (you know who you are) will probably be inwardly relieved that they won’t have to lower their standards to such an appallingly low level again, for a while at least. There’s a massive roll-over of debt coming to NZ this year, and the likelihood of any of it going to dodgy developers selling low-quality dog kennels is unlikely to be financed.
The city can take a breather – as can the council’s staff: sitting twiddling their thumbs in some departments, as far as we have heard. But so how then is this website going to survive, without a regular feed of the fish-food of urban life and architecture to keep it fully fed? Perhaps we won’t have so much to say about buildings, or perhaps we will have more time on our tiny fish-like hands in which to write, and research. I had thought that perhaps we should put our flippers up and take the year off from commenting on urban matters, but thanks to the massive out-pouring of support from our holiday message last year (one Merry Christmas from Robyn, thank you, and a dating proposal to some mystery American from the even more mysterious DeepRed): gosh, I’m overwhelmed by your enthusiasm, and so have decided to keep on going.