Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Testament to façadism

I was heading along Mayoral Drive, a road in Auckland's CBD responsible for scores of demolition sites in the 1970s, and spotted another one:

That's the remains of a former parking garage in Greys Avenue, from the days in the 1920s to 1940s when you either parked your car there, or out in the open, on another of Auckland's demolition sites. The main one in those days was close by, the site of the Aotea Square today (long story, I might go into it one day).

Onward to Queen Street, and a building (well, what's left of it) that I've had my eye on to photograph and blog about for a fair while.

I suppose it's fortunate, this Queen's Head Hotel. It could have ended up entirely as rubble, as with many of the lower Greys Avenue buildings from the 1960s. In the 1980s, a developer came along, and decided to keep the façade. A reminder to us all of what used to be there. This is what is there today:

That said, I do like the remains. (I would have liked to have seen a Victorian-style pub there still instead of another glass tower, but ...) Auckland City Council gave the façade a C2 protection rating in 1986. That's a low rating, and no longer applicable (there's only A and B scheduling now); it doesn't appear to be included on the list anymore.

Some of the elegance continues on. Bacchus is recalled (as he should be, considering this was a pub) in the decorations.

There's even an English-style sign, the young Victoria, but beneath a very modern canopy.

The actual Queens Head Restaurant (they've abandoned the possessive apostrophe, rendering it oddly plural) is next door.

From the outside, it appears more Cobb & Co than Victorian-Edwardian eatery, despite the boast of "Food and beverages since 1890". Ah, well. As I said, at least something remains.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I wish developers and ministers here in Oz embraced the facadism idea, we'd have retained the street beauty of "Marvellous Melbourne"!
    Actually, an architect and lecturer chappie by the name of John S. Gawler instigated the idea of rescuing facades and recycling them onto newer buildings but apart from 2 salvage operations this idea was abandoned by 1939.