A little respect please

Meg Davidson was doing HOK Sport Architects, the Carisbrook Stadium Trust and the public of Dunedin a massive disservice in her letter to the editor, ‘Architecture rethink best for stadium’ (ODT 22.8.08).

She claimed that the options for redevelopment of the old Carisbrook were passed over as in her words, ‘asking HOK if you need a new stadium is like asking a barber if you need a haircut’.

Several points; despite what has falsely been claimed by the opponents of the new stadium, several upgrade options for the old stadium were considered. This included partial and full upgrades. These were considered and dismissed as not meeting the full needs of the city in the future. If they were to go ahead Architects would still have been employed.

Second, despite the somewhat ‘awestruck’ view the STS thinks the Carisbrook Stadium Trust has of HOK Sport, they are paid to do whatever job they choose to take on. If the CST asked them to add a dunny out the back of the terraces, if they were inclined that is what they would have produced. The client, with the dollars, has the final say.

Funny this so-called ‘increase in plan B’ seems actually only to be coming from certain quarters of the community with the badge STS pinned on.

But then like elections I can see the blur and smudge campaign swinging iron to full effect. Two negative opinion pieces in two days, and not one of them based on the facts as they stand.

I wonder what’s in tomorrow’s paper ‘Otago won’t play in new stadium’?

Posted by Paul Le Comte


Filed under Architecture, Business, Carisbrook, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Inspiration, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

3 responses to “A little respect please

  1. Meg Davidson

    Paul, could you supply information about which architects other than HOK were invited to submit proposals about upgrading Carisbrook prior to the CST deciding on the Awatea St stadium? Was it put out to tender? If I am wrong I will be happy to acknowledge it. If you accuse people of ‘false claims’ you have to be able to prove exactly where they are wrong.
    My letter to the editor described HOK as ‘highly-regarded’ and I was not being ironic. HOK has a good reputation. Those who commission work are usually very happy with the result. But if you investigate how they operate in other parts of the world you will notice some similarities with what has happened here. HOK gets in early as a consultant and then gets the job as the architect as well (in this case in partnership with Auckland architects Jasmax); the new stadium option from HOK looks good compared to a redevelopment one which is not much cheaper but delivers less.
    I am not saying HOK is doing anything unethical, or that the CST is not capable of making up its own mind. All I am pointing out is that to my knowledge, no other architect but HOK has been invited to submit proposals.
    My information and the ‘barber’ quote comes from an article in a Pittsburgh paper.

    The rest of your post I don’t understand. It’s a bit incoherent. Among other things you seem to imply only members of Stop the Stadium would like to see Carisbrook retained. I’m sure there are many rugby fans out there who would be insulted by that remark. Sorry, but you’re well into the conspiracy theories here. Stop the Stadium as an organisation has no policy on the future of Carisbrook. I was writing as an individual.

  2. Meg,

    It is common practice in development circles for the contracting of one architectural/engineering firm from day one.

    I would have loved to see it open to an Architectural Competition, imagine how wonderful if old Renzo or Lord Foster thought of having a pitch for this part of the world (sillier things have happened).

    But it didn’t, and we more or less have the best in the world anyways. Jasmax aren’t lightweights either.

    As for the early plans and proposals. What was it, 6 options. These included everything from a lick of paint for Carisbrook through to putting a roof on a fully redeveloped Carisbrook, as well as a roofed and open roofed Awatea Stadium. These were costed, tentative designs presented(I don’t know from whom, nor see how relevant they would have been if Lord Foster has done them for that matter), and these were put to council. I remember looking at all the options in the paper thinking, yes, no, maybe, who knows?

    As for the quote, 2002 Pittsburgh stadium debates have little or no relevance to NZ examples, as the political economy of Sports Stadiums, in a fickle franchise sports market, where if you don’t do what the team want’s, that team ups roots, puts a new name to it’s tops and finds a new city to live in. Interesting article though cheers.

    Meg, a StS committee member writing to the ODT about the Stadium, would, I don’t know seem like StS stuff to me and the public. Meg, if you are going to play that “I have 10 rugby supporters whom want Carisbrook retained” game, then I could produce 1o whom don’t. It’s a silly game.

  3. Meg Davidson

    I don’t know what your last paragraph means.
    Glad you liked the article. I do think it’s relevant. Please will you retract your accusation of false claims. Neither I as an individual, nor STS as a body (and please will you make that distinction) or other opponents of the stadium that I know of, has claimed no other options to the new stadium were considered. I said all the options were ones advanced by HOK Sport, as you seem to be agreeing was the case.

    It does you no credit that you routinely make these accusations and do not justify them.

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