Monthly Archives: November 2008

Not to touch the Earth

Ok, misquoting The Doors’ Jim Morrison in his song by the same name from the Waiting for the Sun album, or indeed alluding to that architectural maxim of ‘touching the earth lightly’, there has been criticism of the new stadium designs by some that “The revised ‘building’ is a large ‘tent’, there’s no other word for it.” {Ian Smith, renowned old codger}. Others have suggested that the new stadium blocks the people from the Water of Leith and Waterfront, and for this alone it’s an affront to the people of Dunedin (whom apparently have this close connection to industrial landscapes and concrete encased waterways).

From the start I must remind you that the original intention for this blog, was to be critical of the design with the hope that they will come up with something more stunning. I was hoping that the likes of a Lord Foster could be tempted here to take up the design challenge – and then my cat awoke me from my daydream. I’m still not a huge fan of the design, but it has come a long way from the original renderings, and despite what others say, it does not destroy the connection to the Leith that others allude to. It is what it is, a sports/entertainment complex, with some nice subtle touches and appropriate dose of brutality giving a stadium what it should have, a sense of enormity and occasion.

So let’s have a look at the current surrounds of the two areas and buildings. What is so special about the two that one requires the virtual preservation of an ageing make-piece stadium, while a hands-off attitude to a polluted and inaccessible stream is deemed good for the people of Dunedin at the other site.

One an industrial wasteland where decrepit and bygone go hand in hand with walls and barbed wire fences, the other… well it’s exactly the same.


It’s a nice start at least, great graffiti near Carisbrook brings life to a very drab post industrial wasteland where scrap is gold, for both the Railway yards and the scrapyard, unfortunately not for the Otago Rugby Union.

Ok, that’s not fair, a railway over bridge is hardly Carisbrook’s fault. So what about the current stadium is worth keeping…?



Some have suggested that fuel storage tanks near the new stadium could serve as a target for terrorism. How about the huge substation within the grounds of Carisbrook, they make one heck of a mess if blown up, and I can’t see the flimsy wooden palings holding out much of a resistance.


Still it could be worse, there could be massive great factories with hollowed out shells of train carriages for the patrons to view.


If they need a bed after the game, the current site is more than accommodating.


Nobody could tell me that the current building is a picture of architectural brilliance that should be saved.


If only this was the Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, alas.


There’s some nice shrubbery around the back (if you are a colonialist that is and gorse is your thing).


Still if the staircase to nowhere isn’t your thing, there are the doors to nowhere. These are both historic and an art installation, or indeed like the Tardis, if you could get through the incredibly small openings you’d be treated to the vast emptiness of under the stand.


They are quite cool really and are a link to the past.


People must have been much slimmer back in the day…


They are great though aren’t they…


There’s a little bit of architectural symmetry at the end of the stand.


Someone slapped on a pretty ugly impenetrable massive wall all the length of one stand. Yet another architectural add-on to the mishmash that is Carisbrook.


And yet another stadium style.


And another, I like this pic, could be any old grey English football stand from the lower divisions.


Still it’s important to see the advertising from across the stadium and in the railway yards.


Of course there’s the surrounding areas that aren’t industrial wastelands, there’s residential buildings.


So that’s the current rugby stadium, what about the new stadium’s surrounds and the current access to the Water of Leith. Remember many have criticised the stadium for showing a massive ugly back to the Leith, this is insulting to the people of Dunedin. So if you were to walk down the opposite bank of the Leith and look to where the stadium will be, this is the back you see at the moment.


Yeah these are so inviting and vibrant at the moment. Like the way they lightly touch the earth, they mould into the surrounding location and speak to the stunning architectural heritage that is Dunedin.


Looking at what will be the back of the stadium, at least this building plays with some iconic kiwi materials.


They have a shed out the back with a working toilet though, that’s handy…


There’s a pile of interesting rubbish, I like the cross-stitch Pluto dog.


You could even find parts for that troublesome motor of yours.


Some buildings only need a lick of paint here and there, and some wall panels, and a door not scorched and some glass, but that’s cosmetic really.


A little unfair I know, so back to the connection by the people to the Water of Leith. Presently if you were to travel down past Anzac Ave and turn into this area, the closest you get to the Leith here is via these walls. You can actually see right through if the doors are open.


Still it could be worse, there might just be massive concrete walls between the street and the Leith…



There’s somewhere to keep your ice-cream cold…


and more utility buildings with barbed wire…


some don’t quite speak industry or architectural heritage, somewhat utilitarian in their construct…


some speak a little more to the industrial area


some really speak to this…


some not only speak to the industrial past of this city, they come with smell-a-vision in the form of sheep-o-rama…


Actually this building has a proud history and has served the Otago region proudly. This is however the face it presents to the Leith…


There’s a nice wall to place some modern art on…


At least it’s facing the Leith, rather civic-minded of them to have that art facing the river.

I do like this view though.


The infamous connection to the Leith and the Waterfront is even stretched a little by the local yacht club. Nice views of the Peninsula Hills though….


Some have objected to the ‘University Creep’ that they see worrying. Looking back up the Leith, this is how the University and Polytechnic look and connect to the Leith. At least it’s more alive.


There’s some classic University buildings that at least speak to the concrete architectural heritage of the New Zealand modernist movement.


Not all the buildings surrounding the Leith speak to the surrounds, however they have become target practice for the Giant Albatross that make Dunedin such a famous tourist trap. This is what you see if you were walking to the new stadium across the Leith. Some buildings just talk to the surrounds more than others eh?


Others have just been peppered by smaller seagulls…


There’s a reference to the transport history of Dunedin…


and reference to a bygone era of industry.


But in the end it too is a none too hospitable industrial landscape and not the mytical connection to the Water of Leith or Waterfront that we have been warned that will be lost if we build the new stadium.



Could be worse, the stadium could be destroying thriving industrial land.

Posted by Paul Le Comte


Filed under Architecture, Design, Inspiration, Site, Stadiums

A dozen or so myths about the stadium

In no particular order, these reoccurring MYTHS, lies or morsels of misinformation keep surfacing, with the distinct ability to stifle any meaningful debate, and only leave those unsure about the stadium unable to make an informed decision. Personally I am in favour of the stadium if all of the requirements are met. However if you have read all of the opinions and so called facts and still oppose the stadium, that is your prerogative, just make sure it’s an informed decision.

So what has been put up as seemingly valid argument against the stadium.

1, Not Multi-Use – MYTH: Well unless you have a Tardis and by 2050 not one other single event (including the Mountain Daisy Preservation Societies AGM) isn’t held at the stadium, then we have to assume that they are developing a multi-use stadium. The designs and management agenda seems to indicate this is the case.

2, Cost – MYTH: We have to assume that the professional organisations which put together this proposal, and the councils that set the budgets are correct. Do not be fooled by those who claim the stadium will cost double – what are they basing that assumption on. Another claim is that steel prices have gone through the roof, when yes they did, but they have also suffered the same as many commodities recently and prices have fallen sharply as demand for that product has declined. Unless you know for a FACT that the cost will be as some claim upwards of $450m, then it’s pure speculation.

3, Materials – MYTH: The revolutionary material which the roof will be made of is in use around the world in several ground breaking stadiums. Just because it’s going to have a ‘plastic’ roof doesn’t make it a bloody glasshouse as described by some.

4, Design: Claims that this design is ‘ugly’ are aesthetic arguments, and one persons beautiful building is another’s eyesore. Sure we aren’t getting a Ghery or Lord Foster (architects) creation, but we are getting a very well thought out stadium. HOK Sport is responsible for over $1 Trillion US dollars worth of stadium and entertainment facility development over the last 15 years, they know how to build a good working stadium. There are claims that the stadium will negate the relationship between the town and the waterfront or Water of Leith, this I will address in another piece in more detail.

5, University Non Involvement – MYTH: Some misread the original discussion surrounding the development and assumed that the University would be investing money directly into the stadium. But further to that many have questioned the Universities committment to any involvement. However as seen recently, the University plans to relocate a significant proportion of staff, students and services (Student Health) down to the complex in their own buildings. This would see an annual 400,000 people using the area (dispelling another myth that the area would be a virtual ghost town when there aren’t the dozen or so rugby matches held there each year). Continue reading


Filed under Architecture, Design, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Inspiration, Media, Site, Stadiums

The social function of NIMBYism

From a very interesting piece by Professor of Law from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

[Link to original article here]

Not that I’m accusing all anti-stadium folk of the classic affliction of NIMBYism (not in my back yard), there is a growing movement towards that within certain sections of the community. So what is NIMBYism and how is it relevant to the Dunedin Stadium debate. First off I must mention that the nature of this blog will be changing over the course of the summer, to encompass a wider discussion about the very nature of design and development in Dunedin (hence this article to kick things off in a new direction I suppose).

The term NIMBY can have different meanings depending the cause de jour, the people involved and of course location. A classic NIMBY is someone who doesn’t want a development (specific) in their neighbourhood or region (New Zealand itself could be accused of this with our proud Anti-Nuclear stance), yet there are so many permutations of this, other terms have surfaced.

As Prof Kiefer states these include:

“LULUs, Locally Undesirable Land Uses”… “NOTEs (Not Over There Either), NIABYs (Not In Anyone’s Backyard), BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone), and even NOPEs (Not On Planet Earth!). It is also possible to find references to CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) and NIMTOOs (Not In My Term Of Office).”

This eclectic collection of groups have historical roots tied in with social movements and periods of post war history in which the seemingly powerless citizen has had to rise up against the powerful political and business monsters. Although Prof Kiefer writes with regard to American examples, very similar parallels can be drawn here. Continue reading


Filed under Architecture, Design, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Inspiration, Media, Site, Stadiums

The campaign of lies seems to be working…

So the early results of the stadium survey by two university lecturers opposed to the stadium seem to indicate that the relentless campaign of lies and disinformation by the Stop The Stadium is working.

We’ve heard everything from global warming, ridiculous opportunity costs, university creep, terrorism, bullshit claims of singularity of use, you name it, if it was negative against the stadium it was seemingly valid fodder.

So much of this campaign hasn’t been about the future of Dunedin and the direction that this city should be heading (as should really have been the case), but lies and disinformation about anything and everything that isn’t true or relevant about the development.

You know the only people that will prosper out of this development if it is stopped by spineless Councillors will be the land owners and developers to date. The city will loose and the people will miss out on some of the most marvellous sporting and entertainment opportunities presented to NZ over the next few years.

It doesn’t surprise me at all the survey has gone this way, with the letter a day campaign to the newspaper (sometime printed for god only knows) spreading the lies about the stadium. It’s the classic man in the pub syndrome, of course 90% of the bullshit regurgitated by stadium opponents isn’t true, but repeat it enough without correction and any lie can be believe as true (just ask G W Bush how to run such a campaign). Obviously these people have been studying the methods of that mad man, because any reasoned debate has flown out the window. I mean just last week the letter to the editor complaining about so called University Creep and university not paying rates taking over industrial land. Well open your bloody eyes you insanely stupid trout, the university contributes ONE BILLION DOLLARS to the economy of Dunedin, and considering the manufacturing base of Dunedin is relocating or downscaling at the moment, we need to foster the single largest industry in the cities history. All just smoke screen, bullshit lies and disinformation.

The people of Dunedin do not deserve this place some times and this is a classic case of it.

For pities sake Dunedin don’t let the bloody CAVES win, nobody wins if they do – you all loose.


Filed under Economics, Geography, Hot air, Stadiums

They're bloody at it again…

My mother always told me to be vary wary of anything the ‘man in the pub’ tells me, because she had a lifetime of her dad saying “the man in the pub” (who of course was an expert in his field) “told me that…”

Ever since then, I’ve tried to avoid the ‘man in the pub’ and stick to the facts, or as close to the facts that science and geography can present these days. Relevance? Well once again the ‘man in the pub’ is getting their seemingly over democratic voice heard at the hearings into the plan change necessary for the stadium to go ahead. Democracy is a great thing, it allows all manner of weirdos, wackos, CAVES (citizens against virtually everything) and the ‘man in the pub’ to have their voice.

Well it seems that at Tuesday’s hearing, the pub was shut and they were all lining up to have their say (much of which was beyond the scope of the hearings). The funniest line thrown about by the anti-stadium brigade is that Global Warming is going to make the area useless and we need to defend the coasts (like the old war cry against the Japanese).

Scott Willis stated

“something that could be “useless” if the latest scenarios on sea-level rise proved correct.”

This was reiterated by Emeritus Prof Jocelyn Harris (of English)

“there were many more important projects to spend money on than a stadium, when a more than 1m rise in sea level was expected in the next 50 years. “This is no time for business as usual.” Expanding cycleways, building light rail, assisting with insulation and encouraging home gardens were just a few of the things that could be done with the money that was being spent on the stadium.”

Several points.

1) What models are these people looking at? Even NIWA’s predictions are less ‘doomsday’ than these.
2) Insulating houses and getting people gardening are not within the scope of the hearings, stop bloody wasting everyone’s time and money. Continue reading

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if, and I want to write this in letters several hundred feet high, just to prove how bloody big an IF this is – IF terrorists were to even know that New Zealand was on the map, IF they decided that we’ve pissed someone off to be on the side of their enemies, IF there was a sports event at the new stadium, IF those said terrorists put 1+1 together and come up with Kaboom, if those terrorists were able to plan something this audacious, IF that plan was to slip under the radar of international authorities (we’re not talking some road side opportunist Baghdad bombing), if they were somehow able to get to the UNDERGROUND storage facilities and if the safety mechanisms of those oil and gas facilities was to fail because of said terrorists, then bugger me that’s bad luck.

This isn’t some fantasy of a 12 year old school boy with war and guns on his brain, this is one of the serious scenarios proposed in it’s formal submission to the planning process looking into changing the cities plan to allow for the new stadium development. And they’re proud of it. Sweet Jesus I’m glad I couldn’t make it to the hearings yesterday to hear that shite, I think I would have been either laughing so hard or jeering so loud that either way I would have been thrown out.


Take a good hard look at this lot. Yes it’s getting personal now. These are the people that want to stop something that is going to be so good for so many people. Look long and hard at those faces and think to yourself, yeah, this is the way forward Dunedin, hiding from Terrorists! Continue reading


Filed under Hot air

NZ may bid for 2015 women's soccer World Cup

From the NZ Herald

The first moves in New Zealand’s bid to host Fifa’s 2015 Women’s World Cup could come as early as next month.

New Zealand Football chief executive Michael Glading said “future strategy” was on the agenda for next month’s board meeting. The idea of considering such a bid had, he admitted yesterday, gained momentum in light of the success of the Under-17 Women’s World Cup.

At a pre-under-17 tournament interview when asked whether a successful age group tournament here could lead to “bigger and better” with the 2015 Cup an obvious target, Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke said he could see no reason why not. Continue reading


Filed under Stadiums

StS split – a real shame for them

Possibly only one of two that was able to engage in meaningful debate surrounding the stadium, Elizabeth Kerr has resigned from the StS committee.

This from the ODT today (Sat 15 Nov 2008)

Elizabeth Kerr, a former chairwoman of the Otago branch of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, resigned last weekend from the committee of the group opposing the stadium because of the issue.

Approached for comment yesterday, president Bev Butler said Ms Kerr, and another member both women declined to name, had been asked to leave.

Ms Kerr said yesterday she resigned because as a committee member of Stop the Stadium she was concerned the group was not pursuing planning advice early on.

“I truly believe in using professionals.”

A group of seven people, including Stop the Stadium members, had got together to fund the hiring of planner Andrew Henderson, who is listed to give evidence at the hearing on Thursday.

Ms Kerr said she was involved in that initiative.

Elizabeth was always willing to debate the issues at hand, and of course through her experience was able to present reasoned argument in areas of her expertise. An ability to rise above the personal, I hope she continues to post at the site, it was always informed debate.

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