Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Aiming for mediocrity. Again.

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    It would just be nice if personalities could be put aside and the actual respective merits of the two sites looked at. But I'm not holding my breath.

    With all due respect, Russell, do you think it might just be possible that then 'Build. It. Now. Brigade' have nobody but themselves to blame for this situation? Take a walk around Wellington some time: What happens when you want to get it right, rather than done right now? Civic Square and a genuinely iconic Pulbic Library. Te Papa, and what boradly regarded as a good balance of public space and private delopment. And when you have politicians with edifice complexes: The Queens Wharf Events Center.

    Sorry, folks, I'm not a NIMBY, anti-development, tree-hugging blah blah blah... But I do actually have to wonder if there are a few people in political and media circles who need to stop acting like petulent children who want to play with their Leggo, and take their own cause seriously.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • Don Christie,

    Te Papa was yet another development I was wrong about. It has been a major reason for Wellington becoming a popular destination as opposed to a parking lot for delayed ferry passengers.

    As a Wellingtonian I am obviously out of touch with real NZ (spending so much time soaking in tax payer dollars and all that), can anyone tell me, are the people opposing the proposed stadium the same ones blaming the gummint for all those NZers fleeing our shores for more interesting pastures? See any contradiction there?

    I think there is a danger for NZ we become a parochial backwater, where folks are so defeatist, that, having won the rights to host a RWC some actually suggest holding the final in Australia. Good God, talk about candidates for "first against the wall".

    If anything would make me want to leave it would be that mentality becoming normalised. I spend quite a lot of time and effort trying to convince people that NZers can do and do do amazing things. I truely believe this to be the case but an international event like the RWC is not a good time to have a national crisis of confidence.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Chris Beer,

    Peter: I was suggesting that the paralells between Te Papa and the proposed waterfront stadium are in their scale and locations, not their design processes - While I thank you for your insight into the Te Papa process, I do think your assertion of "Wrong." is more at home at Kiwiblog rather than here, following what I understand the spirit of Public Address is aspiring to.

    From your comments I do think we are agreed that the risk of banal architecture is very high and Te Papa is an empirical precedent. I do not want another piece of built banality on the Auckland waterfront.

    Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report

  • Don Christie,

    Craig, the "successful" developments you point to had as much to do with politicians as Queens Wharf. In fact, it could be argued that the latter's awfulness was a result of a misguided attempt to hand over our waterfront to private interests. Anyway, now that it is no longer a massive food hall that area has improved beyond recognition.

    The reality is, that no-one is immune to building terrible stuff. Where I think Aucklanders should be very vigilant is in the design phases of this stadium and its surrounds. If we are paying for the best, you guys just need to make sure we get it!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • mark baker,

    We had an event in Auckland a while ago that championed this country as the potential design capital of the world.

    I was present at some of the Better By Design sessions, and nothing I heard there is in the same solar system as this cut-and-paste "woah, we gotta do this now" proposal to build a stadium so we can host a couple of rugby games...

    I agree with Russell regarding Eden Park, its time is long past and it struggles for relevance today.

    My question is whether it's appropriate to rush this thing through simply to bail the Government out of a tight corner, or whether we should be a tad more careful with public money and understand the true potential of the project.

    At the end of the day we will have to live with this thing on the waterfront for a long time, and I don't think it's been thought through carefully enough.

    For example, does it work in the context of maritime events? Is it relevant, or useful if (when) we win back the America's Cup, or Around Alone, or the Volvo? And is it an appropriate use of public money to build the thing then try to fill it with events, or should we identify what events we want to host there and build with those events in mind?

    I'm just not sure the city of sails wants or needs a ball-chaser's wet dream on its waterfront, especially where Trevor wants it to go.

    Papakura • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report

  • Peter Cox,

    Craig, we can all yank out examples all day of successful design projects which were done in consulation over a long period of time and rushed projects that were botched... just as easily as we can pull out examples of projects consulated into mediocrity and iconic structure that were created quite quickly, took risks, and succeeded often in opposition to approved wisdom of the time and the public attitude.

    But let's be quite clear here - just because a design is conceptualised fairly quickly does not mean it will be bad... likewise, taking a loong time and covering your ass with every option does not mean something good will result.

    But anyway-

    Te Papa broadly regarded as a good balance of public space and private delopment??

    Mate, Te Papa is frickin' gastly compared to what it so easily could have been... jeez, it was SUPPOSSED to be a national icon... instead we get 'good balance of public space and private development'... how inspiring.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report

  • Sam,

    It seems like everyone has a lot to say....I presume that you are all providing this feedback to those who actually NEED it...


    Cant guarentee that they will listen.....but its called 'consultation' for a reason I guess.

    Central Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 6 posts Report

  • Tom Beard,

    here were also a number of really interesting options from some great designers (such Frank Gehry, designer of the risky and amazingly successful Balboa Guggenheim... I'd hate to see what Don Brash would have compared the designs for THAT to

    Probably a feather or a fern, because that's what it looked like. I actually preferred Hundertwasser's grass-covered spiral.

    At the risk of steering the discussion away from Auckland for a moment (shock horror...), I don't actually loathe Te Papa: it's just such a wasted opportunity.

    I'm quite familiar with the design of Te Papa and the processes that led to its construction and once you know, some of the concepts behind it are quite interesting

    There are interesting parts of it, and interesting concepts behind it, but generally you either have to be an architect or have the plans explained to you in order to grasp them, so they're not accessible to the general public.

    but there's just simply two many ideas, and it's all a little bit of the sum adding up to a lot less than its parts... no risks, trying to please everyone.

    Agreed. IMO, the main problem is that it got stuck between two specific ideas of what a museum should be: a grand, iconic, memorable yet aloof whole; and a complex, disparate, contradictory yet democratic assemblage. The former would have gone for the Bilbao effect, and the latter would have sacrificed that for a messy yet vital diversity. But what we got was an aloof mess.

    So, my main beef with Te Papa is not architectural so much as urbanistic. It needs to open up to the water and the city, rather than being a hostile bunker. The proposed UN Studio extension between it and Waitangi Park should help a bit, but it also needs an opening somewhere along the northern promenade, perhaps by the observation deck between Bush City and the pond. The southern edge could be improved by having mixed use buildings (offices, housing, retail) built over the carparks that separate it from Cable St.

    But ideally, I would have preferred it if the original concept had been a "museum quarter" rather than a single musuem. A science museum, history museum, art gallery etc, all as separate buildings in different styles, but with active edges, and with public streets and squares between them. Allow some other uses among them so it doesn't become a "cultural ghetto", and it would engage with the city and the water while providing diversity plus openness.

    What does all that have to do with the Auckland Stadium? Not a lot, to be honest, since that will be dominated by one huge and specific use, and it can't be broken down to form a street network at a human scale. But what you can do is avoid the bunker effect by building in other uses at street level. Some of them might fit in with the sporting theme (sports bars, gyms, squash courts, offices for sports administrators, sportswear shops, a sports museum, physiotherapists and spas), but some of them could just be ordinary shops and cafes or general-purpose functions spaces. It it's going to be next to the city, it has to be populated on more than events days.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report

  • Peter Cox,

    Good points, Chris and Tom. Cheers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report

  • Neil Smart,

    How about "The Coliseum" as a name.
    Speaks volumes about the use and so much more elegant than the cake tine or bedpan.
    With appologies to Edgar Allen Poe

    Here, where a hero fell, a column falls!
    Here, where the mimic eagle glared in gold,
    A midnight vigil holds both Locke and Hyde!
    Here, where the dames of Auckland brush their gilded hair
    Waved to the wind, now wave the reed and thistle!
    Here, where on golden throne the world cup lolled,
    Glides, spectre-like, unto this marble home,
    Lit by the the powerful floodlights,
    The swift All Backs of another age!

    Since Nov 2006 • 71 posts Report

  • Hadyn Green,

    build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it build it etc

    but please God (gods), just shut up about it.

    Stop calling it the "bedpan", it'll never be as clever as the "caketin". Get over the fact that it is round, that's a good shape for fitting in more seats. Understand that wherever it goes in Auckland that it will cause MAJOR traffic problems (which may in turn cause Auckland to invest in more public transport). But please finish this part of it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report

  • Hadyn Green,

    Now that I got the grumbly bit out of the way...

    Are the designs for the waterfront on the council link posted by Sam (above) the final ones or is there a range of ones to choose from?

    Because even for a stadium it is slightly boring.

    Tom, what'dya reckon?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia,


    Ugh... I really shouldn't try and write - let alone proof read - through a shracking migraine. I think you're missing my point - or I'm not making it clearl (which is more likely)y: No amount of process is going to produce and outcome that totally satisfies everyone. I get it. ( And if you can, you need to find a better use for your God-like powers. :) )

    But let's cash a reality check here. I don't know if you've ever built a home, or had substantial renovations done, but would you sign up under pressure - and no prospect of a design, let alone costings, for months? Come on... I agree with Russell it's a no-brainer, just not in the way he means. And if that makes me an unpatriotic, NIMBY pansy tree-hugger, well...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • sumware,

    So half of some Antarctic ice shelf or Greenland melts and the sea rises 7 metres.

    The stadium will be a perfect locale for jet-boat sprints.

    Let me see you do that at Eden Park.

    AKL • Since Nov 2006 • 8 posts Report

  • Cameron Pitches,

    I don't think we've been given anywhere near enough information to make an intelligent decision. What are the ongoing costs in maintaining a waterfront stadium? Revenue? Profit? Who will own it? Will it make a return at all? How many times a year will it be filled to capacity? Does Stadium Australia make any money? Shouldn't we be asking to see at least some kind of financial projections here, vs keeping the port operation going?

    On the other hand, it would make a kick-ass rock concert venue, and those sweeping night time helicopter shots sure do look swell.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report

  • Juha Saarinen,

    It does make me laugh - despondently - when I hear people speaking about that beautiful Auckland.

    I mean, it is. Really, it could very nice indeed, all the way up to Orewa or wherever.

    Look around though. What do you see? A disjointed collection of suburbia without any real city centre. All erected with no care for the surroundings.The single noteworthy building is a monument to gambling of all things.

    From that perspective (ha!), what difference would a stadium in the container docks make? In fact, the only thing that would make a real worthwhile difference would be a giant bulldozer.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report

  • Juha Saarinen,

    +waterfront up there of course. Gah. EDIT FUNCTION PLEASE!

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    +waterfront up there of course. Gah. EDIT FUNCTION PLEASE!

    It's number one on the list, honest ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Gareth Jenkins,

    After listening to the architect on Campbell Live tonight I've changed my mind, go the Waterfront. It looks great. Even if it's not completed on time for the rugby, costs $1bn, sits empty 363 days a year and half the seats are empty during future tests, it'd probably be worth it.

    For some reason when Trevor Mallard was pitching it seemed like a really dumb idea... is that just me or should he maybe take a back seat on this and let the experts sell it?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report

  • Mike Graham,

    Build it on the waterfront! I drove down Quay St on my way home last night and realised that the view would be greatly enhanced by having a stadium there.

    There is also enough room along there to do the "green-space" thing - let's put a park on the tank-farm.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report

  • Phil Palmer,

    I think the waterfront stadium would be an OK idea (it's not exactly Sydney Opera House, is it?) but I think the opportunity that has been missed is to do something about NZ's lack of a major conference and event centre. If the government or the council could have come up with some kind of synergy, redeveloping Eden Park down the track, or whatever, then it would have been easier to get excited about it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report

  • Michael Burns,

    I'm with Russell about what people want to do before and after sports events. The reason people tend to head home is that that is their best option as stadia are too often in residential areas accessible only by car.

    A trip up to the Arsenal is best enjoyed by pre-match analysis in the pub before-hand and post-match celebrations afterwards, but as it is in a residential area the number of pubs is limited and tend to be full so people don't bother.

    If I am off, however, to a gig in central town (either in Akld or Ldn), generally by public transport, I will more-often-than-not get dinner somewhere beforehand or meet my mates in a nearby pub.

    A city centre location with good public transport give people options that they don't have driving to Eden Park.

    Where will cricket test matches be played? When I was back home earlier this year I was watching a test match on tv and was shocked to see only about half a dozen people scattered around Eden Park, surely they couldn't justify playing them in a 60,000 seater (wherever it is). Maybe Devonport Domain or Cornwall Park?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report

  • John Holley,

    I was initially in favour of Carlaw park - but with all the facts now in place I think the waterfront is the spot.

    I go to Eden Park all the time (season ticket holder) and am close enough to walk. I know, prior to living closer, what a pain it was to get there - and away from there.

    Additionally, beyond a few bars in Kingsland and Dominion Road there is not a lot to do before or after a match.

    Yes, there are risks in the waterfront but Auckland has been bedeviled by the "safe" options e.g. no light rail.

    Let's for a change be bold and put in a facility that can be used 365 days a year e.g restaurants, conference facilities, and not bring a whole suburb to it's knees every time a big game is on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 143 posts Report

  • Don Christie,

    John et al. If you want the waterfront then you need to convince Don Brash. Mallard, for all his gun boat diplomacy, has at least said he will go with whatever decision Auckland comes up with. Brash has plumped for Eden Park. Mallard and Brash seem to be in a bit of a pissing contest to see who can most disrespect Auckland, Brash just nosed ahead with that decision.

    Another thing, a 67 floor tower block is just about to be dumped into Auckland's city centre, no doubt blocking off plenty sky, space and having a lot of other impacts. The plan is for it to be built by 2011. Where are the cries of anguish? Where are the damning Herald editorials and crappy photoshop impressions? How many Aucklanders were aware of that "rushed" little idea and have been consulted on position, design and so on.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Philternz,

    I have a couple of questions;

    When are are going to see some scale drawings of the waterfront stadium ? The "artists" impressions appear to show a building that is the same height as the power poles on Quay St - these are not 9 stories tall, the stadium is going to be massive, I believe we are under esimating how big and ultimately ugly it is going to be.

    What will this 60,000 seat stadium actually be used for after the RWC ? We cannot fill a 40,000 seat stadium now.

    Who is going to eat at all these new cafes, restaurants and bars ? Presumeably the same people who eat at all the other cafes/restaurants and bars, this cannot make good sense.

    Who pays for the up keep of the stadium after it its built ?

    What happens the users of the 2 wharves ? Where do they go, and who pays for the extension to the port to cater for these vessels and their cargoes ?

    Why has the nation been suckered into this dumb competition by the IRB ?

    I still fail to see what is really wrong with Carlaw Park, the things that are wrong with Carlaw seem to be OK for Eden Park or the Waterfront

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report

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