Phil Hanson, a previous guest post author here on Timespanner, has given me the heads up this morning on this -- the debate going on in Whakatane as to whether a recognised architectural work of functional art should be greatly modified or even completely replaced in line with plans to redevelop Whakatane Airport. See the 3rd Level New Zealand blog's post, and accompanying article from the Whakatane Beacon.
A LEADING architect is rallying New Zealand’s building community in a bid to save the iconic terminal building at Whakatane Airport from being altered beyond recognition or even demolished.
The quirky structure has long divided opinion between those who consider it an eyesore and those who like it. However as part of the Whakatane District Council’s airport master plan indicates its expansion and/or possible replacement.
According to the council, there are no current plans to demolish the building – likened by some to a structure made from Lego blocks – however Jeremy Treadwell, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture and Planning, is calling for urgent measures to ensure the building’s retention be introduced, as plans to redevelop the airport take shape.
Built in 1974, the airport building was designed by the internationally-renowned New Zealand architect Roger Walker, who has also designed the iconic Ropata Village complex in Lower Hutt; the Park Mews community housing development in Hataitai, Wellington; and Britten House in Wellington – among many others.
“This building is a crucial part of New Zealand’s history and its architecture,” Mr Treadwell wrote in an appeal for support through the Beacon.
“It also represents Whakatane as a place that was visionary enough to build it at a time when architecture was struggling to be more than routine and, I hope, wise enough to keep it as an iconic element within a town that rises above the others of the Bay of Plenty.”
Mr Treadwell said he was hoping to obtain the support of other architects around the country to lobby the council to retain the terminal.
In a heritage study of Whakatane in 2007 for Whakatane District Council, NZ Historic Places Trust and Environment Bay of Plenty, the study's authors Matthews & Matthews Architects termed the 1971 building as "regarded as one of New Zealand's more significant architectural designs."
Here's hoping the solution, finally arrived at, will both recognise that, and serve the community of Whakatane well.