Planner opposes painting building panels

John Wickliffe House.
John Wickliffe House.
A Dunedin city planner has added her disapproval to a proposal to paint the concrete panels of John Wickliffe House.

To paint them black would be inappropriate for the building's architecture and in its setting, Dunedin City Council planner Sophie Lord says in a report to the hearings panel considering the application.

The company that owns John Wickliffe House has applied for resource consent to repair and paint the building, which is in a protected townscape precinct zone.

Its plan is to paint the concrete panels - which are covered with exposed and polished West Coast serpentine stone - black and grey to cover up what they say will otherwise be visual repairs they intend to make.

Plaza Property Trust's plans have already drawn a strong response from five opponents who said such a paint job would be out of place with the original design of the building and with its surroundings.

Three other submitters supported the plans.

Miss Lord said the council's urban designer, Peter Christos, viewed the building as one of the most prominent in the Exchange, which contributed significantly to the character of the precinct.

She quoted Mr Christos as saying it represented a time when architecture was used to project a sense of modernity and progress, and the concrete panels were unique and integral to the architecture of the building.

Council consultant surveyor Philip Hartley also told her the building was of high historical importance, despite its lack of heritage protection.

''In the context of its location, the building's profile, scale and relationship to its setting contribute value and integrity to the townscape precinct.

''Consequently, a relatively simple matter such as the colour of the building can have a significant impact, either positive or negative,'' Mr Hartley was quoted as saying.

After considering comments by submitters, Mr Christos and Mr Hartley on the colour of the stone panels and the integral nature of them to the building, Miss Lord said her view was that the colour chosen was inappropriate and painting the building at all would detract significantly from the precinct and the aesthetic of the area.

The applicant should investigate further how they could repair the cracks on the building in a way that was sympathetic to the original design and material of the exterior cladding to a standard where painting was not required, she said.

''It is my opinion that the applicants should make every effort to maintain the serpentine panels to their original design and aesthetic.''

She recommended the application to paint the building be declined, but consent be granted for the repairs, subject to appropriate conditions.

A hearings panel of Crs Kate Wilson, David Benson-Pope and Aaron Hawkins will consider Miss Lord's report, alongside other submissions and will hear from the applicant and five opponents of the proposal at a public hearing on Friday.

Buisness in Dunedin

I am contimually amazed at the constant rejection of people trying to either start a buisness or alter buildings in Dunedin. You have to ask - is Dunedin actually open for buisness? Apparently not. It seems Dunedin has a constant base of objectors to everything and anything that may bring buisness or accomodation to Dunedin and in particular the harbour or warehouse areas of the city. In some cases down there the buildings are a great eyesore that needs renovation. 

I think these objectors  tend to forget very important facts. 1) they dont own the building;  2) they dont pay the morgtage or the rates, or any associated costs. So where do they get off objecting to what the lawful owner wants to do with the building? If he or she want to paint it pink that's his legal right. We have people in Dunedin that are prepared to invest a lot in the city both financially and otherwise with these projects but seem to face a constant barrage of objection and council red tape. Why would they bother, I ask?

Those that want to object could always buy the buildings and paint them or leave them empty to suit their own needs and desires and, of course, cop  the associated earthquake strengthening repairs cost that go with it. Somehow I think not. Wake up before the city is empty people  lets encourage these people  not fight them at every opertunity

Dont get me wrong, I don't mind heritage and conservation but where is the line between conservation/heritage and creating income and jobs for the city? It seems both have been flowing out at an alarming rate lately with the number of businesses closing their doors. Wake up before it's too late people - these investors are not going to hang around forever.

Dont ask

I would not thank you for giving me one of these "protected" buildings. What good can they possibly do you? Where everyone who thinks they have a point can tell you what you can and can't do with it - even down to the colour of it! I would paint them all bright red to give them an idea of how little I valued their input. The city "planner" has more pressing problems she should be dealing with than this little stoush, which I judge to be a waste of her valuable time and an impedance to the redevelopment and commercial revitalisation of the CBD. How about making a roundabout where those "as new" traffic lights by the stadium are and making pedestrian access to the stadium safe instead? You can paint the footbridge any colour you choose. Stop stepping on people and give them a hand to make our city viable.

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