City Life

city life (29 June 2016)

city life (29 June 2016)

City Life is an apartment hotel
on Wellington’s Lambton Quay.
The yellow-leafed tree is
a ginkgo biloba.
I know nothing at all about
the white splotches on the wall.

 

Silhouettes: young lancewood

These three images are selected from a number of shots I took in January 2008 but never bothered to do anything with. Now – eight years later – the neglect seems unwarranted.

The historic St John’s in the City (Presbyterian) stands on the intersection of Willis and Dixon Streets, Wellington. Registered by Heritage New Zealand as a Category I heritage building, it was designed by Thomas Turnbull, and opened on 11 December 1885 (go to Wikipedia link).

Lancewood, or horoeka, is a unique, small tree with lance-like foliage that changes dramatically as the tree matures. In fact, young trees are so different from adults that early botanists believed they were different species.

Can we?

scrabble sculpture (03 Dec 2011)

scrabble sculpture (03 Dec 2011)

Can we? — quickly now!
— Can we just keep pretending
that nothing happened?

(07 May 2016)


The text here is something plucked indiscriminately, unresisted, out of my subconscious. “Reality is … a sum of all texts in various media, including action and thought” (Annette Lavers. 1982. Roland Barthes : Structuralism and After. London: Methuen & Co. [p171].

Drama in Opera House Lane

To me, there’s always been something vaguely sinister about Wellington’s Opera House Lane. That feeling was pretty strong when I was walking through last Wednesday. But it wasn’t the tagging and graffiti grabbing my attention.

The sculptural bulk of the structure overhead – it must be a walkway, I think – the weathered brickwork, and the qualities of the light combined to make it more than usually impressive. And my camera thought so, too.

So here are my three shots. (Oh! you might notice there’s a bit of a photo-shoot happening in #607,  by the way.)

Reflecting on police brutality

This brief post intends to signal that posting to |A Twisted Pair| has recommenced.

It seems not much has changed since then. My last post, on Christmas Eve 2015, carried “an uncommonly handsome view of the Central Police Station – a strong contender, I reckon, for the title of Wellington’s ugliest building.”

Less than a fortnight ago, I posted an image on my Facebook page under the title, REFLECTING ON POLICE BRUTALITY, as follows:

police brutality (19 Mar 16)

police brutality (19 Mar 16)

To my eye, the Wellington Central Police Station is one of the ugliest buildings in the city. Upon reflection (in the surfaces of the building on the opposite side of Victoria Street), it does seem more interesting. This image dates from 19 March 2016.

“Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century. The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete). British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) to identify the emerging style.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brutalist_architecture

Thin red line

thin red line (23 December 2015)

thin red line (23 December 2015)

“You like buildings, do you?” A mature female voice is addressing me.

I am in Victoria Street, and about to click the shutter on this image, an uncommonly handsome view of the Central Police Station – a strong contender, I reckon, for the title of Wellington’s ugliest building.

Standing at my right shoulder, the speaker is clad in a striking mauve jumpsuit. Jauntily perched on her head is a smart little summer hat. She is not someone I know.

I smile as she wishes me the compliments of the season.

“I like anything that catches my eye,” I tell her. “So be careful.”

The clock ticks three times as she registers what has been said. And then both her thumbs go up. “Nice one!” she declares.

 

 

Railway romance

Wellington railway station (22 October 2015)

Wellington railway station (22 October 2015)

The interweb is richly endowed with photographic images of the Wellington railway station – and you’ll find there no dearth of relevant descriptive text. There is no need for me to add anything. My motivation in posting this image is simple: it is an attempt to signal an especially intense nostalgia, a romantic memory of childhood.

Returning to the capital after visiting to my father, I am conscious of my love and gratitude for having grown up here.

Café culture

Athfield Havana Bond (19 October 2015)

Athfield Havana Bond (19 October 2015)

Architect Ian Athfield died on 16 January this year. In the New Zealand Listener (dated the day before), Diana Wichtel presented an engaging interview, first published in the Listener in 2012, in which Ath “talked about starting his landmark ‘act of defiance’ in 1965, and finally wanting to finish the place.” Interview: Architect Ian Athfield

My image shows an advertisement for Havana Coffee. The green Telecom Building peeping in at the top corner of the image, was, according to one NCEA student, “built in a boom period when New Zealanders had big ideas and wanted their cities to look like international ones …”

Not just any old iron

The old iron gates pictured here are on Queen’s Wharf, Wellington. In the background is the Wellington Museum of Wellington City and Sea, sheathed in white plastic sheeting but open for business, nevertheless. (What are they doing, I wonder? I’m still trying to find out.)

The Heritage New Zealand website offers the following description:

“The Wellington Harbour Board Wharf Gates, Posts and Railings are dotted along the city-side of the former Wellington Harbour Board (WHB) port area at Lambton Harbour. Constructed in phases from 1899 to 1922, these iron boundary markers represent the wealth and strength of the organisation which was crucial to Wellington’s economy for over a century. …

“Beginning in the late twentieth century portions of the WHB gates and fences were removed, due to the shifting of the port facilities to the north of Lambton Harbour and leisure and public access becoming a focus for much of the former WHB space. All of the remaining pockets of gates, posts, and fencing form an important part of the historical complex of the former port, visually linking a large area running along Waterloo, Customhouse, and Jervois Quays, from Wellington Harbour Board Shed 21 to the south of Lambton Harbour at Taranaki Street Wharf.” (Wellington Harbour Board Wharf Gates and Railings)

In researching the history of the gates, I found a facsimile of an item in The New Zealand Herald, Volume XXXVI, Issue 11245, dated 14 December 1899, Page 5, which states:

“Two sets of iron gates are being placed at each of the entrances to the Queen’s Wharf. They are very handsome. They are surmounted by large globe lights. The Harbour Board, to quieten the fears of the promenaders, state that no interference will be allowed with persons of either sex visiting the wharf at reasonable hours, but the officers on duty will have instructions to note the condition of persons going to the vessels alongside.” (Papers Past)

Under canvas again

on the waterfront #218 (24 March 2015)

on the waterfront #218 (24 March 2015)

Like the group of shots taken more than a week ago, this image was made on Queen’s Wharf, near the TSB Bank Arena and the Museum of Wellington City and Sea. The stylized sails are so photogenic, it’s hard to resist getting the camera out.