Rog on Beauty

Rog on Beauty is the personal blog of Roger Walker - architect, designer, traveller, car man, magazine reader, and raconteur. He started this blog as a cheaper alternative to holding court at various drinking establishments around the town to tell stories and share his opinion on the beauty of architecture, planning, design, cars, travel and anything else that takes his fancy.

Loving the Libraries

The new Turanga Library in Christchurch Square won this years John Scott NZIA Award for Public Architecture.

Danish public library specialist architects Scmidt, Hammer Lassen Architects designed this important addition to the Christchurch public facilities rebuild with assistance from local practice Architectus.

Its recognition richly deserved and in terms of public interaction it has over a million visitors in its first year of operation.

Malcolm Walker, one of the NZIA judges observed that ‘it even has some books in it’.

This is not a throwaway line. Libraries are now places for the social interaction of a wide range of cultures, religions and age groups. Coffee, food, Lego, photocopying, DVD hire, public computers and meeting rooms have all appeared, creating vibrant hubs for learning and innovation.

Visitors are taken on a visually exciting journey on broad stairs between the various levels, and angled toward different external landmarks and references the journey to the heavens taken by mythical hero Tawhaki. The veiled exterior reads like a cloak folded back to glimpse a magical interior,

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Joe Lstiburek

Here I was, going to an after work function along with many building professionals and architects to listen to a “building scientist’”give a presentation,

Thinking this would be all about flashings, durability and roof/wall junction detailing ,the promised food and drinks to be generously provided by the sponsor made the decision to attend viable.

It transpired that the “building scientist” was Dr. Joseph Lstiburek, the highly qualified and founding principal of The Building Science Corporation, as well as a respected educator and advisor on Canadian and US building codes.

His work has had a lasting impact on building methods and practices throughout the World.

But we weren’t told he was one of the finest stand-up raconteurs I have ever experienced. Read More

Save our unique library

A wonderful event a couple of weeks ago on the date of Ath’s birthday (he would have been79) was organised by the NZIA, seeking to guage public sentiment and offer supporting efforts to save Wellington’s iconic library building.

After Judy Keith’s excellent introduction, Gordon Moller Spoke eloquently of the history of the Civic Square development with its library anchor. The closing of the eastern end of Mercer St. was the genesis.

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Whakatāne Airport Recognised

Just over 12 years ago, I met my then new girlfriend’s father for the first time at a restaurant in Wellington.

“Where did you fly from,” I asked.

“Whakatāne,” he replied.

“Oh, I designed Whakatāne Airport.”

There was a pause (a nervous pause on my side).

“I like Whakatāne Airport,” he said.

And we’ve been good mates ever since.

And it is fair to say that not everybody loves it – it has its share of friends and foes.

But last week I was honoured to hear that Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga has just added the Whakatāne Airport Terminal to the New Zealand Heritage List Rarangi Korero as a Category 1 Historic Place.

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Earthquake Overreaction

In the late 1990s I fell for a beautiful brick building in Egmont St. which is reminiscent of a Melbourne laneway. It has fantastic walkable connections to inner city shops, restaurants and parks.

My apartment in this 1921 building, known as The Tea Store, was completed in 2000. Because the building was converted from a warehouse into 19 residential units, the developer was required to earthquake strengthen the building. It was strengthened to NZCC’s 1965 Chapter 8, which was the Code applying at the time.

All was well and happy until the Christchurch earthquakes.

‘Poor Christchurch’ I thought. But little did we owners realise that the effects of those earthquakes would manifest themselves in Wellington.

Despite the relative lack of damage to heritage buildings in Christchurch, zealous officials and conservative structural engineers in Wellington now deem buildings such as ours to be ‘earthquake prone’.

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