Thursday, June 25, 2009


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;

Friday, June 19, 2009


[EYE] ON AUCKLAND would like to take you on a little tour of the new Deloitte Centre & Tower site located between Jean Batten Place, Queen, Shortland and Fort Streets in downtown Auckland.
It is late 1840 and on the shore of Commercial Bay the first permanent timber structure in the newly established city of Auckland is built, [GOVERNMENT STORE]. By 1844 the store is used as a market and 165 years later will become the site for the [DELOITTE CENTRE & TOWER].

By 1867 more permanent structures appear due to booming export business and population growth. From left to right: New Zealand Insurance Co, PA Philips - Iron Monger, M Bruce - Jeweller, T Boylan - Glass Importer, W Miller - Boot Maker, HP Hayward, The Bank of Australasia and Shortland Street Post Office.

1868 [SHORTLAND STREET POST OFFICE & CUSTOM HOUSE] built in the Gothic Style. By the 1930's the building was demolished to make way for a road (Jean Batten Place) connecting Shortland Street (Auckland's oldest Street) and Fort Street, as well as, for the construction of the [JEAN BATTEN POST OFFICE]. The above photograph was taken in 1905.

In 1885 the [VICTORIA ARCADE] was built and featured Street level shops and four floors of office space. Many artists such as Henry Winkelmann kept studios here. Unfortunately the building was sold and subsequently demolished in 1978 by the [BANK OF NEW ZEALAND] for their new building. A disaster and big loss for Auckland. This is why we will never bank with the [BANK OF NEW ZEALAND]. The above photograph was taken in 1904.

Built between 1937 and 1942 the [JEAN BATTEN POST OFFICE] was designed in the Moderne Style which was all the rage. Completed during the wartime years the building first housed the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps and the United States Red Cross.

1978 the [BANK OF NEW ZEALAND] demolishes [VICTORIA ARCADE] and build their hideous office block adjoining the [JEAN BATTEN BUILDING] which forever scars Queen Street and is prophetic of things to come for heritage buildings in downtown Auckland. SHAME on you [BANK OF NEW ZEALAND].

2008 [BANK OF NEW ZEALAND] demolish their 1970's monstrosity and begin construction on a 21 level office tower and restore the [JEAN BATTEN BUILDING] which will retain original features such as brass lights, crests and Art Deco cornices. The building has been given a 5 star Green Star rating. By November 2009 elite-brand stores such as Speedo, Reebok, Lacoste, Northface, Rockport and Ben Sherman will open their doors to the passing trade.

[EYE] ON AUCKLAND is relieved that the former building is gone but that will never replace [VICTORIA ARCADE] and for that we will never forgive the Auckland City Council and/or the [BANK OF NEW ZEALAND].

Thursday, June 18, 2009


In 2008 Auckland was banished by [MONOCLE] magazine but this year the chic global design and lifestyle magazine agrees that Auckland has earned the reputation to be included again and we sit proudly in position # 20. Of all the surveys [EYE] ON AUCKLAND views this survey as the most important one.

[MONOCLE] launched their 25 top liveable cities survey in 2007 and then ranked Auckland very highly at position # 16. In 2008 they thought that Auckland didn't make the cut and subsequently we were cut from the list. Very humiliating indeed and we hung our heads in shame but now we are back !

The magazine ranks cities not just on usual livability measures such as the cost of housing and infrastructure but also tries to provide a sense of what makes big cities truly "great". Its reviewers looked at the aesthetic of the built environment, the efficiency of bureaucracies, whether you can eat late at night and the safety and comfort of walking the streets.

Auckland can hold its head up high, this year alone the Mercer Index for [QUALITY OF LIFE] ranked the city at # 4 and the Economist Intelligence Unit 's index for [LIVEABILITY] ranked the city at # 12. Not bad for our big little city with a council that has a repressed 20th Century mentality, a small but cosmopolitan population of 1.3 million people and placed at the furthest end of planet Earth.

Well done Auckland, now let's strive to be # 1

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Britomart Precinct has a new bar - [BREW ON QUAY] - and it is Fabulous. The old Wharf Police Building is an important remnant of Auckland's industrial and commercial history, and of the town's role as the only producer of refined sugar in New Zealand. Surviving in a remarkably intact condition, the single-storey structure was erected as the head office of the New Zealand branch of the Colonial Sugar Refining (CSR) Company in 1903, on newly reclaimed land between the docks and railway line. The Australian-based company had established their only industrial works in the country, now known as the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, on the other side of the Waitemata Harbour in 1884. The refinery processed cane sugar from Fiji and elsewhere, producing finished products such as refined sugar, treacle and molasses. Many of these goods were transported across the harbour to Auckland, and stored in the CSR Company Building for further distribution.

The sugar industry had a major impact on nineteenth-century settlement in the Pacific, and formed an important part of colonial trade. The building reflects New Zealand's developing role as a processor of raw materials from other countries, and its connection with Australian industries. The structure is important as part of a wider historic land and water-scape, with the CSR Company refinery and grounds surviving as industrial sites across the Waitemata Harbour. The building interior is extremely significant for its well-preserved nature, offering insights into the organisation and appearance of the early twentieth century workplace. Its use as a wharf police station is of value to the history of law and order, reflecting the continuing use and importance of Auckland as a commercial port.

[EYE] ON AUCKLAND loves the fact that many of the original pieces have been preserved and restored to their former glory. The bar has three distinctive areas i.e. the Quay Street area is mostly intact and served as police front offices, lobby, reception counter and strong room. This area has the original police desk as well as finely detailed mahogany office partitions which forms part of the new bar. The middle section has the original toilet block and a courtyard and the southern section, originally the sugar store and cart dock, is now refurbished in a contemporary style. The ceiling and roof were demolished and a new mezzanine floor with outdoor terrace has been built.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Sitting at The Williamson Cafe in Grey Lynn is no longer the experience it once was. Across the road is a huge abandoned construction site which is where one of [EYE] ON AUCKLAND'S favourite projects was starting to rise - [SOHO SQUARE]. That was until a witch hunt was launched by none other than Graeme Easte and selfish members of the community aka nimby's (not in my back yard) who endlessly campaigned to put a stop to it without thinking of the implications that it may have on the welfare of many families involved in this project.

The community in question (repressed mentality brigade) would rather live in a light industrial wasteland, delusional of the fact that they live in a city which grows and evolves over time. Auckland (yes that includes Grey Lynn | Ponsonby) is NOT some lifestyle block trapped in a time capsule. Densification is the only way for cities to move forward and Soho Square offers an exceptional leisure, entertainment, living and working environment close to public transport (practically surrounded by bus stops).

We are sick and tired of hearing the same old song from the same old people that rear their ugly heads every time somebody tries to invest in an area:

1. [VIEWS] You live in a city and your view is never guaranteed unless you live on a cliff facing the ocean, you are higher up than the heritage listed building in front of you OR you face a registered parkland. Even more ridiculous is that fact that city apartment dwellers are under the impression that skyscrapers should not be built in front of their apartment - this is the CBD people. The same can be said for commercially zoned areas fronting onto your property (in this case I am willing to bet that these are the very same whingers who live miles from [SOHO SQUARE]. Catch a wake up people and smell the coffee.

2. [SHADOWS] What about that tree in your front or back garden, are you going to chop it down because it casts a shadow over your house ? Shadows move by the second and change according to the seasons. Shadows do NOT remain in one spot 24/7 ... it is just a shadow people, nothing to be scared of. You should be taking down your roof , it is the monster that casts a shadow over you 24/7.

3. [HERITAGE BUILDINGS] So what if you are in some heritage listed building right next door to [SOHO SQUARE]. Should everything around you just stop ? Is it a time capsule ? European cities build around and above heritage buildings which are in fact way older than the buildings in Grey Lynn | Ponsonby. Stop fooling yourselves, most landlords couldn't care a damn, heritage buildings in the Grey Lynn | Ponsonby area are falling apart and can do with a good clean up and a lick of paint - nobody complains about the state of these "loved" buildings. Where were all of you "good Samaritans" when they built those hideous structure from the 50's 60's and 70's. I guess that it is okay because it brings back memories of your "glory" days in your weather beaten bach. We have news for you - not all of us love unspohisticated areas and a leaky bach.

4. [DENSIFICATION | HEIGHT] Oh dear oh dear. The very same people that moan about the cutting down of forests and green fields are the very same people that moan about building heights and densification. Sprawl is not sustainable people, densification and mixed use is - the very thing proposed by the developers of [SOHO SQUARE]. European cities are proof of this. So you are going to see a building on the horizon, does the view of your neighbours wall or rooftop also get you into a flutter. You are sitting at some pavement cafe in Ponsonby Road and you see the city skyline, does it get your knickers in a knot ? How pathetic !

5. [TRAFFIC] This really gets us laughing. The very same people that are against the traffic "increase" are the very same people who won't get caught dead catching a bus or trying to burn those extra calories (and you know who you are) by walking a few extra miles. Oh deary me, they would rather hop into their gas guzzling motor cars and try to run every other cyclist or pedestrian down. Why don't you practice what you preach and use the public transport or even better get off your arses and walk. We are sick of having to breathe in your car fumes.

We spend a lot of money in the Grey Lynn | Ponsonby area and we would like to know who these selfish people are that campaigned against the [SOHO SQUARE] development so that we can boycott them once and for all. I hope that their conscience is clear and that they can sleep at night, you are the very people that have helped many families seek benefits in these difficult times. Thanks to your out-dated views many people are going hungry because you took a chance away from them and we have to look at that great big hole every time we walk down Williamson Avenue. SHAME on all of you !

What we could have enjoyed: