Thursday, November 5, 2009

[PROJECT] + ST PATRICK'S SQUARE [PART B]




The long awaited upgrade of [ST PATRICK'S SQUARE - PART A] is complete and what a revelation it is - Hallelujah ! What was a depressing patch of lawn and rocks is now an example of good urban design. We love the artworks by Steve Woodward and Mary-Louise Brown, the water features, the public seating that can also be used as a table top, the paving, the lights and all the different textures. The upgrade covers the entire area between Albert, Hobson, Swanson and Wyndham Streets, and also complements the 2007 restoration of St Patrick's Cathedral. All that is needed now is for the [SAFFRON TOWER] to be built, more pavement cafe's spilling onto the square and for the lazy landlords in the area to clean up their buildings and restore some pride. Praise be to the Auckland City Council for having some foresight.

[EVENT] + AUCKLAND MUSEUM TURNS 80




Built in 1929 to mark the end of the First World War, the Museum has witnessed Kiwi men and women leave to serve in World War 2. It has gazed on the Auckland wharf strikes and occupation of Bastion Point, the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior and victory at the Rugby World Cup. Now the [AUCKLAND MUSEUM] is 80 years old and looking better than ever. New lighting will transform our classical building at night - with roughly 400 LED fixtures there will be 3 phases:


7pm-12am: Classical Mode
[This mode uses a golden hue, which climbs the building in a warm, amber tone]

12am-3am: Moonlit Mode
[This mode uses white light to reflect a moonlit sky]

3am-7am: Sleep Mode
[This lighting mode uses a softer blue shade to reflect morning slumber]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

[PROJECT] + IRONBANK


RTA Studio's [IRONBANK] was recently awarded 4 awards for sustainable design, commercial design, urban design and the Resene colour award. We couldn't agree more. We would love to see more of the same throughout Greater Auckland. The architecture is inspiring, adventurous, quirky, contemporary and bold. Described by the media as a bunch of rusted cargo containers stacked on top of each other, we see it as a new frontier - design that is breaking the mediocrity of the architecture that is so prevalent in Auckland. Well done RTA Studio, we are proud of you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

[EVENT] + SPRING INTO BRITOMART

If you go into the city today you are in for a big surprise. The [BRITOMART PRECINCT] has received a wee face-lift. The so-last-Century brick paving has been replaced by a lush, green lawn and timber boardwalk. Not only that but the corridor joining Britomart train station was lined with trees. What a difference that makes, the entire [TAKUTAI SQUARE] softens up and looks so inviting. People armed with cameras were out in full force and brought a smile to the weather beaten crowd. We are shocked to learn that it will only be temporary - what a shame.

Britomart's people report that the ‘Spring into Britomart’ project includes the laying of a temporary 22 x 22 metre lawn in [TAKUTAI SQUARE], the main public space in the precinct, and the planting of more than 90 trees as well as grasses in planters. The new Takutai Lawn will be the focus of a wide range of activities and events over the summer and beyond. This week’s plantings include 20 four-metre plane trees lining the Te Ara Tahuhu walking street where it runs between the Britomart Transport Centre and Commerce Street. In addition, more than 70 native pohutukawas, puriris and griselinias have been planted around the lawn and interim car park areas. We are hoping that this becomes a permanent feature, start writing your letters now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

[PROJECT] + AOTEA SQUARE


It is no Federation Square but it is an improvement, the Auckland City Council have just released new and updated renders for the [AOTEA SQUARE] upgrade which will be ready for The Rugby World Cup 2011. They propose to give the square a distinct and contemporary identity as well as providing a safer, family-friendly environment for residents and visitors to enjoy. A report endorsing the procurement of a permanent big screen within [AOTEA SQUARE] recommends that a permanent screen be located on the south face of the SkyCity Metro building to enhance or promote events, performing arts and city centre activities. We cannot agree more and we believe that this decision is long overdue. It is the way things are moving in the 21st century.

[STAGING + EVENTS]


[AOTEA SQUARE] will be a much better venue for a wide range of outdoor events - formal and informal, large and small. The main paved area will be widened and levelled, which means crowds of up to 20,000 can gather comfortably. The surrounding steps can double as seats or staging. Unifying the paved and grassed areas improves the square for events and everyday use. The new car park roof will raise [AOTEA SQUARE's] level by an average of one metre, which will improve connections with surrounding buildings.

[TREES + GRASS TERRACES]


A healthy stock of about 63 trees will be introduced in the new landscape mainly at the southern end of the square. These include a range of ten native species: nikau, kowhai, pohutukawa, puriri, kauri, kohekohe, karaka, putaputaweta, taraire and totara, in addition to the three pin oaks, which will be retained at the Queen Street entrance. Ten pohutukawa will be planted in two rows of five in the hard paved area at the northern end of the square. Pohutukawa were specially selected as they are hardy and can withstand tree pit constraints and heat. The grassed areas will be terraced, stepping down towards the paved area with better views for staged events. The terraces will provide sunny and shaded spots for people to relax and watch events or enjoy a lunch break in the fringe areas. The steps between terraces provide extra seating. The layout of the terraces is designed to reflect the architectural lines of the Auckland Town Hall.

[PAVING + SEATING + LIGHTING]


The paving is mostly granite, with honed concrete on the stairs and terraces. A pattern representing Auckland's volcanic map is proposed for the main paved area. The proposed seating is tailor-made to suit [AOTEA SQUARE]. Long bench seats, in strategic spots, will be wide enough for people to sit on both sides. Square seats will be clustered to suit groups or individuals, with good views of the main staging areas. Steps and terraces also provide informal seating.A series of pole lights, designed to echo the styling of Auckland's Sky Tower, will light the pathways, trees and seats at night. Uplights will illuminate the Town Hall fa├žade, while low glare dome fittings will provide subtle lighting in the paving and lawn areas.

Now that the City Council have come to their senses and endorsed a permanent Big Screen, it would be great if Sky City can join the party and change the facade of their Metro Building. Something that will be compliment a party atmosphere and 21st Century meeting place, something like the Rundle Lantern in Adelaide:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

[PROJECT] + BRITOMART LUXURY HOTEL

What is currently an abomination of architecture, the 70's Seafarer's Building, could be history if and when Cooper & Company get their way. They propose to demolish the Seafarer's Building and replace it with a luxurious boutique Hotel. We cannot think of a better place for this Hotel. It will be in the heart of the up-and-coming Britomart Precinct with views across the Harbour and very close to ferry's, trains and buses. The only thing that is holding them back is bureaucracy, residents with tunnel vision and political agendas. We fail to see what the issue is.


The height of the hotel is apparently the number 1 concern, judging by the height of the East Building that is rising behind this site, the Hotel will hardly stick out like a sore thumb. [EYE] ON AUCKLAND has seen the plans for the Central Building and that is even taller than the East Building. We feel that the proposed Hotel will create balance between all the buildings in the Precinct. The number 2 concern is that the building doesn't compliment the heritage buildings. So what ? we have traveled the Globe and we have seen how heritage and contemporary buildings compliment each other, no matter how tall they are. A city is not a time capsule and the two can live in perfect harmony. Successful urban spaces dictate that different building styles and heights actually create a far more exciting urban scene.


As for the Design, CONCEPT A is unusual, there is colour and is inspired by it's location, that is, the water. We won't mind if this is eventually built but we would much rather see CONCEPT B grace our city skyline. It just screams 21st century sophistication, glitz and glamour. We can't help not think of the dynamic architect duo - SANAA - who designed similar buildings such as The Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City and our personal favourite, the House of Dior in Tokyo [see below]. We truly hope that Auckland has reached some level of maturity and will stand behind this latest proposal. Britomart Precinct will not be the same without it and we all know that Auckland needs that touch of glamour.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

[PROJECT] + BIRKENHEAD LIBRARY

It is no secret that at [EYE] ON AUCKLAND we love Melbourne and the cutting edge architecture & design that is so prevalent in that marvelous city. We are pleased to see that the same kind of architecture and progressive thinking is starting to take root in our fabulous city. The repressed mentality of the 70's that is so instilled here should soon be a thing of the past as people realise that quirky and adventurous architecture is not something to be afraid of but that it creates a far more exciting, progressive urban landscape.


One such building is the new [BIRKENHEAD LIBRARY] currently under construction on Auckland's North Shore. A sod turning ceremony was held on the 19th of December. The library will house some of council’s important community services such as the Birkenhead -Northcote Community Board meeting rooms. It will also be home to the Citizens Advice Bureau, Plunket and will allow Community Co-ordinator contact.


The building will be built to Green Star NZ status, which is New Zealand's first comprehensive environmental rating system for buildings. The design concept for the new library responds to the existing established trees in the Nell Fisher Reserve, which in ancient times was part of an extensive Kauri forest. Panoramic views of Auckland, Rangitoto and the upper harbour edge are able to be seen through the trees from the reserve.



The building will also deploy Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) principles giving substantial energy savings for cost in use, recyclable materials, night purging in summer and natural rather than artificial lighting where possible. The ESD is further supplemented by mechanical & fire services where because of site orientation and the libraries floor plan arrangement to the brief, further cooling or heating is required in some circumstances. We will bring you more once this project has been completed.

Friday, July 31, 2009

[PROJECT] + VIADUCT EXCHANGE

2010 is shaping up to be a busy year for Auckland. We believe that there will be a flurry of construction and infrastructure projects across greater Auckland beginning in the last quarter of 2009, continuing through 2010 and all the way through to mid 2011. We will be so bold as to predict that 2011 onwards we will see Auckland's skyline change beyond recognition. Inside information suggests that Auckland is going to be a completely different city come 2016 and we welcome that with open arms.

There are many projects that we would like to introduce you to and we are happy to report that the majority are A grade projects with the type of architecture that Auckland has been yearning for, firstly, Mansons TCLM ltd is bringing us another set of green buildings. They are currently working on [VICTORIA SQUARE] and once complete they will start on their next project [VIADUCT EXCHANGE]. We are very happy to see the back of what is currently a parking lot along Fanshawe Street - an eye-sore of epic proportions.

What is proposed ? an A grade Office campus and Retail development consisting of 5 office buildings , landscaped gardens, a public plaza and a wide pedestrian boulevard. We love the fact that there will be open spaces where we can soak up the sun on a perfect Summer's day and the fact that the plaza will complement the adjoining plaza at the Vodafone complex making it more pedestrian friendly for urban explorers such as ourselves. We also love the architecture; asymmetrical, fractured facades, colour and the generous use of glass curtain walls. We wish [VIADUCT EXCHANGE] every bit of success.

Monday, July 27, 2009

[PROJECT] + TELECOM PLACE


The ugly duckling that was a hideous old building on Victoria Street West is transforming into a graceful swan. Telecom's new HQ [TELECOM PLACE] is rising fast and promises to be both contemporary and eco-friendly where 2500 staff will work and play. The construction site is currently New Zealand's biggest city office platform at 7800sq m.


Each of the four buildings is slightly different:
Building A
consists of 7 levels and located on the northwest Dock Street side of the site.
Building B
neighbours Building A and consists of 8 levels, located on the northern front of Hardinge Street - city side.
Building C
is behind them and flanks Victoria Street West. The 6 level building is located on the western side.
Building D
is 7 levels and located on the eastern edge - city side.
In between these buildings, a quadrangle has been created which is a central atrium area. Its most distinguishing feature is a large internal flight of stairs about 12m wide, under which the Telecom auditorium or theatre space is housed. We love the fact that the developer took into consideration the fact that there is an opportunity to get this building near city transport hubs such as Britomart and the ferry terminals so that people can leave their cars at home. Hopefully we will see more and more of this kind of thinking in car-centric Auckland. We look forward to the opening of this new office complex.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

[PROJECT] + ACCOR HOTEL, AUCKLAND AIRPORT

Who could have guessed, another new Hotel for Auckland and we have a sneaky suspicion that this won't be the last time that we hear of new hotels sprouting up across Greater Auckland. It was recently reported that Auckland is in dire need of guest rooms for the Rugby World Cup 2011 and we have to agree that Auckland Airport definitely needs a hotel, this project is long overdue. Here are all the details:

Tainui Group Holdings has this morning confirmed speculation it will build a new hotel at Auckland International Airport. An agreement has been announced between the airport and the tribe together with Accor Hospitality.The 263-room, twelve storey Novotel property will be completed in time for the Rugby World Cup.The 14,000sq m hotel designed by Warren and Mahoney will be adjacent to the airport’s international terminal and constructed to a height of 52 metres. It will be Accor’s 30th hotel in New Zealand.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

[EVENT] + BRITOMART TRAIN STATION GOES GREEN

As reported by the New Zealand Herald, Bewildered passengers found the platforms unusually green and springy at Britomart Station in Auckland, after the concrete floor was temporarily transformed into a "meadow". A milk company spent all night laying 1250sq m of grass - ready to greet the first train of travellers that arrived just after 7am. The station remained open throughout the day of filming for eight Meadow Fresh commercials. One train driver spent all day driving in and out of the station amid the actors, buttercups, bushes and grass needed for the advertisements. Northcote Intermediate students will be next to walk on the grass.


The magnificent photographs were supplied by CraigSyd.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

[PROJECT] + NZI CENTRE


Fanshawe Street has a new sparkling gem and Pakenham Street East, in the Viaduct Precinct, will never be the same again - it has changed for the better and we owe our gratitude to a fabulous new piece of architecture [NZI CENTRE]. The building is one of the most sustainable in Auckland and will be glam palace for the approximately 600 staff members at New Zealand Insurance, a brand of the IAG Group.

The 5 Green star rated building is a low-rise structure on the corner of Fanshwe Street and Market Place based on the now popular "open plan office" concept and filled with light. There is also an on-site cafe which we can't wait to visit. Unfortunately the building isn't open to the public as yet but we did peep through the glass barrier and we are glad to report that the interior design is fantastic - full of colour, space and greenery.


What we also found very impressive is the art work located on the Pakenham Street East facade. It is very Melbourne - fractured, a luminous green and not another waka cum over-sized Pohutakawa flower cum seagull "art" piece that is so prevalent throughout Auckland. Hallelujah indeed ! This is one piece of architecture that we are proud to call our own and we can't wait to show it off.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

[PROJECT] + BARRY CURTIS PARK

South Auckland's newest park - [BARRY CURTIS PARK] - recently opened for residents to stroll, cycle and play in. We love it and can't wait to see it when the vegetation is fully grown and when the signature areas are complete. The park of 100ha is the largest of it's kind in New Zealand and has already won three awards for the wetland playground area, for the design of the signature areas and for project management.
What else do we love ? the fact that the largest [BUDDHIST TEMPLE] on the North Island is just across the Road where you can destress at the tea room and enjoy a wide range of tea including lotus flower tea, the architectural elements of the park and the sculptural landscaping. What we don't like is the fact that there is no cafe in the park and there is a distinct lack of colour. We hope that these issues will be adressed in the continuing development of the park.

The soon-to-be defunct Manukau City Council have kindly provided us with a video showcasing the design concepts, inspiration and elements of the park. Due to the fact that the [BARRY CURTIS PARK] is a continuous project and will be developed over time, the video also includes a glimpse of what we can expect for the future. Enjoy the viewing;