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.

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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NZIA IN:SITU Conference 2019

Every two years New Zealand architects have their conference.

I really look forward to it, and after weeks of anticipation, the two days of it were over in a flash.

I needee to comment on the last conference and I need to comment on the significance of this one.

It was the largest ever, with 1300 attendees. Morning , lunch and afternoon breaks were so socially intense that I actually looked forward to getting back to the auditorium to sit quietly and listen to the amazing line up of very special speakers.

Hearty congratulations for the Institute for organising such a stunning world-class lineup.

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More Colour Please

I have written before about colour (or the lack of it) but recently there has been a public debate on the observation of the greying of our suburban roofs.

Apparently this ‘Stuff’ editorial even reached Australia.

A fellow in his 90s rang me last week to say the Wellington suburb he had lived in for many years was getting ‘greyer and greyer’. Ironic that he wasn’t talking about his hair, but the environment outside his home.

So why this sea of grey in our suburbs, some of which resemble groups of turtles grazing in a field?

The suburbs used to have coloured roofs of tasteful blues, red-browns, and greens as this nostalgic work by artist Dick Frizzell shows.

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The Pertinence of Park Mews

I was sitting in my office one day minding my own business when the phone rang.

The caller introduced himself as comedian Billy Connolly’s New Zealand agent.

“Billy wants to meet you,” he said.

Apparently on the way in from the airport, he’d passed Park Mews in Hataitai and stated: “The architect clearly possesses a sense of humour.”

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