Buildings that nailed it in 2016

Stacey and Milla Pyne checking out the Mount Central

I'm falling in love with Tauranga's architectural talent. They're nailing that sublime quality that's more than just measurements, calculations and ho-hum boxes.

Around the city new buildings have been constructed that I think ‘nailed it' as far as being perfect for their function or location, and for inspiring us.

Here are three of them:

Mount Central

First on my list of ‘Buildings that Nailed It 2016' is Mount Central. Located on the corner of Banks Ave and Maunganui Road, its à la mode and eye-catching, distinctive and visually pleasing. The informally cool design synchs well with the chilled back vibe of the Mount. Vibrant, alive, relaxed.

The three buildings on the old Sunny's site were demolished in May, 2016, to make way for the two new single level retail buildings that are connected with a canopy. The cladding and varied height roof levels make for an interesting streetscape. The 1315m2 development and carpark already has Sunny's back on site and will include a café.

The new Mount Central.

Ahurei Rhind and Tyra Brennan were heading to Pilot Bay with their bean bags to lax back and watch the sun set while sipping slushies. They willingly obliged with helping convey the aesthetic quality of the building behind them. 

Ahurei Rhind and Tyra Brennan chilling out with slushies and beanbags.

Cleverly conceived by an aware mind, this building takes in its surrounding vistas. Viewed from the carpark on the reverse side, Mauao is framed perfectly through the walkway, as mother and daughter Stacey and Milla Pyne discovered while cycling past.

The verdict is this building has ‘nailed it' as far as capturing the all-year-round Mount vibe.

Corner of 16th Ave/Cameron Road

Located near Tauranga Hospital, the first floor of this building on the corner of 16th Ave and Cameron Road will house medical suites.

Local Incubator director and artist Simone Anderson works nearby. Well-known for her fascinating exhibitions of eclectic assemblages where body parts and old anatomy diagrams juxtapose with the nostalgic, classical and delightful, she talks about the osmosis of inspiration through the city.

Simone Anderson.

“Art, aesthetics and culture are like some kind of nervous system or an organ in the body,” explains Simone. “A city can't do without it.”

“It would be like having a frontal lobotomy. It's non-negotiable. We've managed to be starved of arts, aesthetics and culture for so long. It's not a new thing that they help make a city, just look at Roman architecture and all the cities of Europe, that's how they built their cities. Somehow we've cut that off, the supply of it, and we go forward with no realisation that it's important.”

“I think we have a bit of a shift in momentum at last,” says Simone. “It's taken a long time. That's been the biggest problem in our city, getting over the inertia. Recognising that mediocrity is a terrible thing and settling for it is bad.”

Simone believes that building designs have the power to inspire and make people feel good about their city.

“It makes them feel like this is a desirable destination to come to, if the buildings are creative looking and have a bit of an edge to them,” she says. “Not just boring boxes that look like tenement blocks.

“I think it's about making an effort. Every creative industry takes an effort.”

The verdict is this building has ‘nailed it' for increasing the healthy creative pulse of the city.

IRD Building

The third building that won my heart is the new IRD building on the corner of Third Ave and Cameron Road.

If you'd asked someone to come up with a building that looks like an IRD building, this is it. It looks like a 3D version of an accounting spreadsheet. Serious, tabularized, business-like, yet with a light and open-minded touch reflecting an approachability and helpfulness that has become part of the culture of IRD.  

Donald Trump giving IRD a ‘thumbs up'.

Working with families, administering social support programmes and helping kiwis pay their taxes and receive their entitlements, they are trying to make things simpler and faster. Housing New Zealand has also moved in here.

“It's bigly,” says our Donald Trump who gives our IRD building a big ‘thumbs up'. “I build big beautiful buildings – and nobody builds buildings better than me, believe me – and this building is beautiful. I might even go in and release my tax returns.”

The verdict is this building has ‘nailed it' for its timeless sense of security and unclouded organised thinking.

IRD building looks like a spreadsheet.

“We need to educate people that art or any kind of design in a city isn't indulgent, it's necessary,” says Simone, summing up the developing new architectural face of Tauranga.

“That's our biggest hurdle - that people think art is an indulgence and frippery. But it's not. We can't starve our city. The main vision I have is that more is more. I'm not a believer of less is more. Everything we can get we should get.”



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Early morning lift-off for Humpty Dumpty at Memorial Park. Photo: Lynly Whitaker.

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