Saturday, July 3, 2010

Is There Any Reason To Keep The Cargo Sheds?

With the *yawn* Rugby World Cup looming – and Auckland’s party facilities not even agreed upon, let alone started – 21 architects have come out in favour of saving the old cargo sheds on Queen’s Wharf!
The wharf is supposed to be the venue for Party Central, with various ideas being mooted, from an enormous tent to a fully-constructed facility with a cruise ship terminal...but of course all this requires the removal of the sheds.
Even an arty low-angle shot can't change the ugliness of these sheds!The architects say, because the sheds (which they describe as "noble") are 98 years old, they should be preserved as some of our few examples of early industrial architecture.
Auckland has a poor reputation for bulldozing anything over 50 years old: a classic illustration happened in 1988, when – despite a 12-day public protest – His Majesty’s Theatre (circa 1902) was demolished in the dead of night. But to many, these sheds are just corrugated iron eyesores, very much resembling the many rows of now-demolished WWII storage sheds built by the US Army at Sylvia Park, Mt.Wellington. Should they be saved simply because of their age, despite having limited architectural value beyond being an example of a 98 year old industrial storage shed?
And indeed, what actually constitutes 'architectural value'? Is that how a building is constructed?... how it performs?... what its asthetic nature is? That's a monster-sized debate which could last for years after the Rugby World Cup has come and gone!
What's paramount is getting the ball rolling now to construct something workable, before the city ends up looking unprepared and amateurish in front of Rugby World Cup visitors. So I say: let the sheds go. If those learned architects are that much in favour of saving them, let them finance the removal and restoration themselves.

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