Saturday, August 7, 2010


The 5 bids have been lodged for Auckland's [INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE] and the finalist will be chosen by September 2010.  A convention centre is long overdue, this will have incredible benefits for Auckland and for all that serve the incentive | conference industry. Our tourism industry will grow and so will our construction industry - more hotels could be built etc.

We have chosen our favourite bid - The Edge @ Aotea Centre - the architecture is cutting edge, bold and not the usual boring 90's box wrapped in glass. It makes a statement "we have arrived, we are going places, we embrace the 21st Century". We also like the fact that they will incorporate The St James Theatre and restore it to it's former glory. Other benefits include it's central location (no hills need to be climbed between Queen Street and Hobson Street), a choice of hotels in the area, the prospect of a future underground rail station and a range of amenities within walking distance. This choice is a no brainer.  

Our 2nd favourite is The Infratil bid at Wynyard Quarter - the render doesn't offer much but thus far it looks as if it will be another box - please no ! The area on the other hand needs investment and the convention centre will complement Sea+City's vision for a vibrant quarter with great tourist attractions, a tram ride between Wynyard Quarter to Britomart and a blank canvas where we can create bold, innovative and exciting 21st Century architecture - as well as public spaces which are not the anaemic grey we are so familiar with.  

Skycity's bid is dull and lackluster, so 1995 ! They already have convention centre facilities there and casino's are tacky. The competition will do them good. Ngati Whatua's bid leaves us wanting to know more - what exactly do you propose ? It will be great to see those rail tracks covered over but let's face it, the location is in the sticks. Talking about in the sticks, ASB Showgrounds bid is in another country. Although the design is great, we can't imagine International globe-trotters stuck out there with sheep and Macdonald's. The proposed hotel is so 1970's ... Auckland has moved on.

Good Luck to The Edge, we are backing your bid. 

Friday, August 6, 2010


Scoop reports that Newmarket's $154m rail upgrade has seen a 26% increase in patronage. Cameron Brewer, chief executive of the Newmarket Business Association, remarks that “the $35m Newmarket Station is proving to be a great asset. What’s more with electrification, it is predicted that the number of people catching the train to or from Newmarket will more than quadruple in the next six years.” Mr Brewer says the nearby Grafton Station on the corner of Khyber Pass Road and Park Road is also proving to be a huge success. “The number of people using the new Grafton Station in May compared to the number using the old Boston Road platform the previous May was up 45%. That is a stunning result. “Newmarket’s new railway stations and facilities are making a great contribution to Auckland’s public transport network. They are well and truly earning their keep. “Catching the train to and from Newmarket has now become a really viable transport option for employees and visitors alike.


The QUBA development on the eastern fringes of the city has left us all with a sour taste in our mouths, not so much because of the architecture, but because the public spaces and lane-ways are abysmal. The initial renders promised a Melbourne style landscape but instead we were left with an anaemic, drafty and soulless rabbit run. Harbour 5 Ltd is now proposing to erect a new, eight-level commercial building at 8 Mahuhu Crescent (on the corner of Beach Road and Mahuhu Crescent). The design looks far more interesting, breaking free from the box with straight sides and alternating piercings - the angles and curves are refreshing. It is a shame that we don't have any renders in colour but all good things come to those who wait. We hope that the public areas will receive more attention and create a vibrant area for those who live, work and migrate through the area. 


What is a hideously prominent building will soon be no more. Cambel Trust Ltd Partnership proposes to demolish two existing buildings and construct a new eight-level commercial building at [201 Victoria Street West] - on the corner of Halsey Street, Victoria Street West and Dock Street. It is hard to make any judgement right now, we have limited information and the renders aren't the greatest, but we think that it is safe to assume that the design is nothing spectacular. A Terra-cotta tiled facade brings on flashbacks from the 80's.

We hope that we are wrong and that the finished product will be far better than the renders. Needless to say that we can't wait to see the demise of the buildings that are currently there - a real shame that they didn't remove the two buildings alongside the development on Halsey Street, now that will be good riddance.