The politics of architecture

The September-October issue of the ArchitectureNZ magazine asks each political party leader to nominate a building which they admire or is significant to them.  And what it found was:

The Left’s traditional, the Right’s radical, the Greens are right–on, the Maori look in and the Centre looks back.

Russel chose the Ataturk Memorial, which stands at the southern end of his electorate on a ridge above Tarakina Bay. It was designed by Architect Ian Bowman.

Accessible only by foot, it is located in a rugged yet serene location with an incredible view to the south. The inscription – a quote from Ataturk – is a message of forgiveness and peace and reminds us that we are all part of the same human family.  It reads:

Those heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives,

you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.

Therefore rest in peace.

There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours.

You, the mothers

who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears,

your sons are now lying in our bosoms

and are in peace.

After having lost their lives on this land they become our sons as well.

Jeanette pricked the recently retrofitted Department of Conservation Building in Wellington:

Fresh air, daylight, low energy, low water use, systems for waste management, and so pleasant and healthy to work in that I understand absenteeism from winter colds and ‘flu have halved this year. To me, making an old building beautiful and functional is even more impressive than designing a building from scratch.

Meanwhile, Rodney Hide has picked the presumably publicly funded extension to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and John Key picked the Auckland Sky Tower, a building Russel described earlier this year:

In the Auckland CBD there is a memorial to Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson, it is a casino in the shape of a syringe. They created a society in which desperate people’s only hopes are pokies and drugs.

Photo credit: Rodney F

9 Comments Posted

  1. tonyt – yes. The folk in Architecture agreed with the Green choice.
    It’s highly subjective.
    Franky of course was the American architect who really invented a new style of architecture befitting the New World. He called it Organic Architecture. I wonder where he pinched that idea?
    IF you want to view an ongoing praise of his work go to Peter Cresswell’s Not PC page – he is editor of the Free Radical etc.
    The museum extension was designed by Noel Lane, who is Alan Gibb’s son-in-law, and both are on my board of trustees. Alan has developed probably the world’s largest and finest outdoor sculpture park on the South Kaipara and intends gifting it to the State when he finally shuffles off the mortal coil.
    My houses, like the Group Architect’s houses normally have gable roofs or hip gables. A monopitch roof is a lean to or shed roof. Simple geometry means that a shed roof covering a given area will “rise” twice as far as a gable roof which slopes down from the ridge. When a bundle of hip or gable roof houses are close together the roofs form a series of waves. But a bundle of shed roofed houses look like a pack of dogs snarling at each other with their teeth bared.
    I worked with Ivan Juriss of the Group for several years.
    I do not understand how, when every other product wants to be “organic” modern architecture (and especially houses) is so “inorganic” and totally bereft of any natural materials. They are concrete, stone, stainless steel, aluminium and glass – hardly a piece of timber to be seen.

  2. From the looks of it – it wasn’t the greens who described their choice as “right on” – it was Architecture NZ magazine describing the greens as “right on”.

    and sky city is the perfect choice for Key – a casino in the shape of a syringe – what could better exemplify the destructive selfish policies of the right.

  3. Stephen, Monopitch roof means that in howling norwester the noise from the roof doesn’t change with the wind speed.

    On most art deco houses the rooves are b-flat, most ski lodges are a-sharp.

  4. frog, re: the museum extension, there was probably some public funding, but quite a few large philanthropic donations too.

    Names you might recognise:
    James Fletcher
    Michael Friedlander
    The Gibbs family (yes, Alan)
    mad butcher
    the Myers family (yes, Doug)

    Interesting post, could you say what the other politicians said, and maybe translate Owen’s post 😀

  5. >>They created a society in which desperate people’s only hopes are pokies and drugs.

    Or they could, you know, get a job. Contribute. Participate.

    Perhaps Milly is desperate….dunno…..

    The more this guy Russel opens his mouth, the less respect I have for him.

  6. I suspect anyone would describe their choice of architecture as being “right on”.

    HOw do you account for my preference for Frank Lloyd Wright over the International Movement?
    Or the Group Architects over most of the stuff cluttering our subdivisions today?
    If I see another monopitch roof I shall scream.

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