A call to design arms!

Hi All,

this is of course the obligatory first post. Nothing to say at this stage which wasn’t said in the email 5 mins ago, but as they say in racing parlance “we’re off…”

To find out more, of course go to the about page.

This is a forum for ideas, not a personal web site and of course the ideas and words expressed on this blog may not necessarily be those of me, the university or even the city of Dunedin, but they need to be heard.

If it gets nasty, it’s gone, so lets keep it clean and pens to the ready. We want ideas!

I will be open to people requesting to be able to post (at this stage you will need to ask first), but this isn’t about me in any way shape of form, it’s about us, so comment away.

Final word. The image of the Beijing Olympic Stadium is not a design preference for Stadium Dunedin, I just like it – OK.


Filed under Design

5 responses to “A call to design arms!

  1. HMM

    Nice one Paul. Great to have a forum. interested to see what pops up, and will certainly be adding my bit ! / HMM

  2. Why thanks very much HMM,

    let’s see what will come of this, who knows who will drop by?

    If anyone tells the dear old Rate Payers Association (all 5 of them), I’ll …


  3. Bob Sworth

    Great to see a site devoted to generating comment on this inspired proposal, especially in the light of some of the tripe (alas predictable) thats been bandied around about it (eg that its intended form is ‘out of context’ with Dunedin’s historic architecture, a fatal flaw that may apparantly be mitigated by a waving a magic wand made of Oamaru stone).
    There still seems to be a hard core lobby of unrepentant ‘contextualists’ out there endlessly chanting their hopelessly dismal ‘one size fits all’ architectural dogma, and determined to do their worst to ensure that Dunedin becomes mired in some sort of romanticised version of 19thc.
    Hell no!
    Fortunately, there is cause for hope however, take
    the University’s Information Services Building for example. What a brilliant beacon of the future it makes as one approaches the city in the evening from the northern motorway.
    Its really heartening to see a building of that scale, location, and importance in the city flaunting such unabashed confidence about Dunedin’s future. The only really weak point in it being the sop to contextualist lobby with the Oamaru stone panels to the north. Here it looks as though the architect simply lost their nerve.
    But nonetheless, a great building from the users perspective (ask anyone), and a mercival break from the sort of post modern posturing of the Commerce Building.
    Dare I hope for a stadium that follows the lead of the Commerce Building, but confident even to the point of declining the use of ANY bloody Oamaru stone?!!

  4. Meg Davidson

    It is a pity your call to design arms didn’t get taken up. I oppose the stadium which I think represents far too little public good for far too much public money. (And no, I am not opposed to spending public money per se.) However, I might be slightly mollified if we were presented with a Sydney Opera House or a Birdsnest. What we have been offered is something that looks like a Goldaire fan heater, from about the same era. I believe the plans are now being altered in light of the increasing price of materials and other factors like the need for better ventilation. There will be less concrete, more contoured steel (corrugated iron?) ORC councillor Bryan Scott referred to it being built The Southern Way. I’m starting to get it. Uh … Our Shearing Shed? Or – now some faces have gone altogether – Our Covered Yards?

    Anyway, I was intrigued to find this blog and have enjoyed reading what Paul had to say about stadiums overseas. I see that Syd Adie et al are not welcome here. Perhaps I am not either, and if so, fine. However, please can you come across to
    http://stopthestadium.org.nz and join the debate there. The only pro-stadium posts so far have been positively spit-flecked. Some intelligent debate would be a nice change.

  5. Peter Entwisle

    I think Bob Sworth would count me as one of his “hard core lobby of unrepentant ‘contextualists'”. I certainly think context is important when building in a city like Dunedin of acknowledged, existing architectural merit. I write a weekly arts column in the Otago Daily Times and have often advocated this.

    The university’s Information Services Building is not well contextualised but it’s not an outstanding glass and steel Modernist design either. (Its lack of significant awards shows I’m not the only person who thinks this.) The Centre of Innovation building is, though it is also out of context.

    I have not urged contextualisation for the proposed Awatea Street stadium. I’ve criticised its concept designs as dull and dated of their sort. The project’s chief proponent, Malcolm Farry, has agreed, in public – and put that down to cost. I’ve suggested lateral thinking, such as siting the stadium inside the adjacent Logan Point quarry. I think on its site it could succeed as a contrast if it was a really outstanding design. But what’ being offered is no Sydney Opera House.

    Even a brilliant design wouldn’t stop it being a phenomenal white elephant. The capital tied up in it would preclude the city from doing anything which was both useful and attractive on that scale for a generation.

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