Architects’ Group Dismisses New Queens Wharf Designs


More debate this morning about the latest Queens Wharf designs –although only a privileged group of people so far know what it’s all about.

The Auckland Architecture Association committee calls the latest design “a knee-jerk ‘lipstick on the pig’ token Polynesian dress up.” The association says the design has resulted from a flawed competition that sentences the wharf to be locked up in ongoing commercial use for the foreseeable future.

The association suggests that rather than a piece meal approach to Queens Wharf, the right way forward is to produce a “practical master plan for the whole city water frontage.”
The association calls for such a plan with “vision, uniqueness and excitement that we can all agree on and be proud of.”
“Rather than another commercial interest barrier between the city and harbour, Auckland deserves a genuine harbour-city connection and this budget would be better spent on opening up the cities actual water frontage for public use along Quay St. Get rid of the red fence.”
The association, formed in 1965, “strives to provide a centre for architecture in Auckland and is for students, academics and practitioners of architecture as well as those who have an interest in the role that architecture is able to play in our city.”

Other statements about the designs so far include:

  • Ports of Auckland managing director Jens Madsen…”the design fulfils the brief superbly.”
  • North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams ..”stunning piece of architecture”
  • Manukau Mayor Len Brown …..”I like it”
  • Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey… “terrific design, right to proceed”
  • ARC Chairman Mike Lee….”no need for more plans, build it.”
  • Auckland Mayor John Banks continues to urge caution

But none of the new designs have been publicly released and there’s no timeline for that so none of the rest of us are probably qualified to speak!

Will this dreadful old shed remain or go?

The Auckland City waterfront section of its site has no mention of Queens Wharf  and the Auckland Transition Agency, which is driving the latest moves, hasn’t had any new info on its site since last year. Jasmax architects make no mention of it on their site, although the site is so clever for its own good, who would know.

The website that ran that contest, has now blocked the showing of the previous designs submitted in the contest and displays only a holding page that reads:

“The design competition has been placed on hold while the project’s three sponsors, the New Zealand Government, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council review the timing and scope of the development. We will update this website once we have more information about the way forward.”

Well, it seems a way forward has been found , so let’s hope we get to see it soon.




  1. Ian says:

    I’m no architect but even using a fair chunk of imagination I just can’t see how this old dilapidated shed can be made to look good and still exude old world charm. In contrast the Wellington waterfront sheds are brick, started off with good looks and were made better still. I’d be very surprised if a silk purse could be made from this old sows ear.


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