Wellington Waterfront Architecture Workshop Tower

Civic Ambition: Every City Needs an Eiffel Tower

Located on Taranaki Street, the current wharf dive platform creates much enjoyment for those who muster the courage to hurl themselves into the icy harbour as well as for the excited spectators sitting in the sunlight cheering for the brave hearts.

Architecture Workshop first proposed this open stepped climbable structure on the end of the Fryberg beach pier when it was constructed in 2004. (We were urban design collaborators with Tonkin Taylor on the Oriental Bay Enhancement).

The 50 meter tall tower – using the very latest in NZ timber technology – is basically a view tower that you can jump off with a rubber cord tied to your legs (if you really must)! Exhilarating viewing experiences are increasingly part of the urban fabric: Seoul has its 236m Observation tower; London has both the slowly rotating London Eye, at 135 metres, and the Shard tower, designed by Kelly’s former employer, Renzo Piano, giving you views of the city from a height of 306m. Even Brighton (pop 270,000) has just completed the fabulous i360: the world’s first vertical cable car –taking you up a vertical pole to a height of 162m and providing views of the city and seaside extending for 26 miles.

Our precarious, dislocated timber structure (based on a sculpture by Swiss/Spanish engineer Calatrava) operates at a lower altitude but still offers the increasing numbers of harbour side promenaders an exciting climb up the cantilevered stair ways – providing dramatic views of central Wellington and its beautiful harbour, and, if there are enough mad buggers about, giving climbers a unique view of the bungy jumpers as they fall to the water below.

Wellington, with the highest per capita income in NZ, is also an action capital. With its Cook Strait weather, untamed South coast and ecological reserves of Zealandia and Otari, this compact city can offer it all. Now all we need is a visionary Mayor who is at ease frequently asking ‘what if ?” and ‘how about ?’ From recreational gadgets like this view platform, to smarter infill housing models and new public space, benchmarked with the best offshore, there are a multitude of exciting new urban initiatives Wellington can take. There is plenty of intelligent thinking and architecture skill in this town to provide an ongoing urban design review and realise a grander civic ambition.

Read the stuff article here

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