Westende House no great loss.
Thank heavens that wretched Westende House is going to be bowled by CERA. It was the first new building to emerge from the rubble of September 2010 – rising like a one-fingered salute to cheap and nasty uber-functionalism. A building devoid of any decorative flourishes, by-passed of personality, let alone any semblance of imagination. I’m sure Cr. Jamie Gough had this soul-destroying specimen in mind, when last October, he urged the public to speak out and drive out property developers who specialise in the expedience of “ugly glass boxes.” Thankfully, his uncle, Antony Gough, has helped elevate the benchmark for excellence, with his extravagant, sexy and celebrative design plans for Oxford Terrace. Bravo, Antonio! Likewise, the sculptural glass design plan for the new Triangle Centre is dynamic and distinctive. The founder of the Christchurch Modern website, Matt Arnold, scoffs at the public’s right to express its expectations. Why should we settle for mediocrity? Christchurch has one shot to achieve greatness. Every developer privileged to be at the vanguard of the city centre’s re-creation, can surely dare to dream a little. Over the holiday weekend, I was taken on a site-tour of the Arts Centre, by the director Andre Lovatt. It was an inspirational Easter metaphor experience. Emerging from the devastation, the promise of new life – principally powered by a $156 million Lumley insurance pay-out. Just imagine if the Arts Centre had entered a half-baked, underdone insurance deal, a la the city council. Actually, no, let’s not imagine that. Let’s shoot for our skyline to sparkle with the best of the new – and old. In a city soon to be teeming with the contemporary, our premier heritage buildings are of paramount importance – not just in the interests of continuity and legacy, but as touchstones of architectural excellence.
Are you satisfied with the quality and accuracy of your earthquake repairs? The EQC’s head office informs me that based on all home repairs to date, the programme has triggered a complaints rate of 2% and a compliments rate of 4%. But curiously, the EQC claims that while work is in progress on individual repairs, and homeowners raise concerns about any defects, like walls painted the wrong colour, no data is being kept on those complaints, “because there is no clear benefit from doing so.” Really? So, how can the error rate be properly monitored and addressed?
Several legal practitioners have contacted me to express their surprise at the “irregular” manner in which the two men, charged with assaulting Jesse Ryder, were reportedly let loose, immediately released on bail without even appearing before a court. Given the gravity of the alleged offending, it is remarkable they have not been held in custody since being charged. Several attempts to seek clarification from the police, has been met with a wall of silence. The public deserves an explanation.
( First published in The Press, April 2. Yardley’s column appears every Tuesday.)