Sunday, May 16, 2010

A plea for Queens Wharf

My friend Liz from Mad Bush Farm mentioned last night that she had a photo showing the Queens Wharf and the sheds/structures which, here in the City of Sails, has caused a lot of feathers to fly in political arenas. She has very kindly sent through the image. Thanks, Liz!

Anyway -- an article appeared in the NZ Herald written by Antony and Jane Matthews, two of this city's heritage architects. I've worked on their projects before now: heritage studies, heritages walks brochures, etc. In "Harbour Sheds Old -- Not 'Cheap and Nasty'", they make their case for the retention of a part of our industrial heritage. A facet of our overall urban heritage picture which, it would seem, is all too readily overlooked in favour of perhaps "prettier" things to save.

"The proposal to remove them seems to be made on an aesthetic evaluation based on their present condition. If this was the sole criterion to determine the retention of heritage buildings many important places would have been lost.

"And if they are not considered worthwhile saving for their cultural value, what of their economic value? How much would it cost to construct buildings of a similar scale with riveted steel columns, substantial Australian hardwood beams and floor joists and miles of 3-inch thick hardwood flooring and kauri roof sarking? Redevelopment of the buildings would be a sustainable approach. Can poorly considered demolition and replacement with a temporary tent structure, which will in turn be discarded, be sustainable? It is wasteful, illogical and costly."


  1. I tend to agree with Jane an Anthony on this as well. The value of retaining historic building of industrial heritage is just as important as retaining say the old Ferry Building or someone's former homestead. Glad I could help with the images too Lisa. Those sheds at Queens wharf are an iconic part of the Auckland Waterfront. To replace them with anything else would be the destruction of an example of waterfront industry for its time. Those planning to demolish these buildings should have a rethink and seriously consider their potential for other uses.