The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

2AWA: Best Building

by Joanna on November 13, 2007 in TAWA

We have the serious hots for some of the architects architecture around town. Buildings that not only function as they were intended but also make the streets a more exciting and pleasant place to be make us happy people.

Put on the Barry White because if this building was a person, I would be making sweet sweet luuurve to it right now:

After the jump, we present the buildings…

A. New Meridian head office (Kumutoto)

Yeah, it’s been given the collective group hump by all media outlets lately due to its ‘greenness’, but the fact that the Meridian building practices what they preach (being the only electricity supplier who only uses renewable resources), that it maximises its gorgeous waterfront location AND adds to the overall aesthetic of the waterfront makes us happy to join in that hump. Not only that, but the hungry and thirsty among us are looking forward to some extra special surprises on the ground floor.

B. The Department of Conservation Building on Manners St


It’s another green building, of course, but what makes this extra green is that it recycles an old building. Not only that, it managed to turn an embarrassing reminder of the architectural excesses of the ’80s into something cool and elegant. To appreciate it, you really have to wander inside and experience the light flowing through the atrium and the spectacular staircase. Add in a roof garden café and it’s hard not to envy those working here.

C. Te Puni Kōkiri House


Who could resist the ripplicious 1930s-style flanks topped out with flat plates wrenching the eye to a halt among light spaces and green glass? We can’t. And Hotere’s brilliant and subversive sculpture out front, a broken column seeming to portend the failure of temporal (and Pākehā?) power, is the icing on the cake.

WINNER!!!
D. Wellington Central Library

We love this as much for what it contains as for its admittedly beautiful structure. Ian Athfield’s design is still refusing to date after over a decade, and it’s quite a shock to be reminded that postmodernism was supposed to be about language, history and humour rather than slapping cheap arches and columns on things.

E. “Boathouse” apartments and atrium at Chaffers Dock

If only all new apartment buildings could be this light, crisp and lively. Subtle zig-zags and folds animate the northern elevation, stepping in and out just enough to stop it being an extruded lump, without going overboard and wacky. The atrium is also an essay in light and angles, with slashes of sunshine streaming from the roof and slender leaning columns bringing dynamism to the space. Now, if only some of the ground-floor tenants had lived up to the design challenge…

For a handy map of where to see all these buildings, use the “bestbuilding” tag on ZoomIn. Go and feast your eyes before voting opens on November 19.

Joanna McLeod

Joanna McLeod has started calling herself the Empress of the Internet because she can. As well as wrangling the other site contributors and Getting Shit Done, she likes to eat, drink and write in equal amounts. Yes, she would love to be invited along to your event in order to do those things. Joanna's also the best person to talk to if you're interested in advertising on the site.

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