Auckland is such a naturally beautiful city and as Fred Dagg says, “we don’t know how lucky we are”. This is just a simple post showing some amazing pictures of the city and if we can get our urban environment sorted, we will truly be the worlds most liveable city . I’m not sure of the details of who took them so if you want me to add credit for them then just let me know.

Photo: Chris McLennan

The next two are by Richard Wong

And the last one for tonight by Mattglogan

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  1. Set as my desktop background. Yes Auckland has stunning surroundings. I lived there for 24 years and never became blase about what nature served up.

    1. Yes – I think that is quite a big difference – stunning surroundings versus the actual built environment which is truly awful. The buildings are for the most part cheaply built, poorly designed and overall when put together they are starting to resemble many a third world city.

      1. And that is something that makes me very optimistic. If we take a look at my former home of Melbourne, back in the 80s and early 90s it was a decrepit industrial sh*thole. A big dirty brown city on a dirty brown river on a flat dusty plain. In twenty years through skillfull preservation and development of their built environment they turned that city into the most liveable in the world. All through their streets and buildings and urban culture I might add, the setting really is flat, boring and quite ugly.

        Take Auckland on the other hand, an amazing setting on the gulf of islands across two harbours, mountain ranges west and east, volcanic cones popping up everywhere, beaches and bays dotted all over the coastline, and a solid gold north facing dowtown waterfront. If we can sort out the urban aspects, which we can, we’ll have one of the greatest cities in the world. We can build Melbourne’s waterfront boulevards, laneways and cycle paths. They can never build our harbours, mountains and beaches.

        Take a leaf through the City Centre Masterplan, the Auckland Plan and the RPTP. Tell me we wouldn’t have the best city in the world if those were all enacted over the next decade or two.

        1. Yes. We can have it. If we want it.

          But unfortunately, there are many people who don’t want the best city in the world. They want the city we have now. I’m hopeful we will defeat them.

  2. The first photo shows what a massive site the old Cook Street depot is – where Rhubarb Lane was proposed. Let’s hope something happens there as it’s a pretty giant hole in central Auckland’s urban fabric at the moment.

    1. more generally, the entire western edge of the city centre abutting SH1 is relatively under-developed. Lots of potential for growth there …

      1. If we do something about the two inner-city motorways that cut it from the rest of the CBD. It really is a bit of an island.

    1. a certain degree of organic growth is to be desired, but yes (speaking as a non-educated buffon) there does seem to be a lack of thought and coherence about much of Auckland’s inner-city architecture. In saying that the new Deloitte building on Queen (site of the old Jean Batten building) is quite good as far as new buildings go, especially at street level. Of course, the historically minded among us may decry the loss of the JB Building, but I feel like enough has been retained to maintain those historical linkages – unlike some of the earlier attempts at facadism.

      Or am I trying to put lipstick on an architectural pig?

  3. I do agree about the DC building, given what little I know. I’m indifferent to facadism, as it can be quirky and mildly positive ­— more interesting to me is the impact on everyday human affordance, design cues and implied values, and environmental interaction. The new block has three-and-a-bit sides of high-quality frontage — includes visible/permeable surfaces, mostly retail; some overhead shelter, decent lighting, bike parking, seating; use of all corners, adjoining shared spaces; and more. Excluding its neighbours, the worst part is the gaping hole for the multi-level basement car-park on Fort Street (whereas I might have preferred only disability parking, and loading zone/service entrance). Haven’t yet had a chance to check out the upper interior (especially the top floors), and I’m always sceptical about efforts to greenwash projects like this, so I’ll abstain on how it stacks up internally. Certainly wouldn’t call it a pig.

  4. Was that last one taken on RWC opening night? Can’t remember if there were spotlights everywhere but there were certainly fireworks.

  5. All cities look picturesque from above at night, the issue is at street level which is where you actually interact with a city. At the fine-grained level Auckland is a particularly ugly city, and has a long way to go.

    1. So true. São Paulo for example looks awesome at night yet it is a bit of a hole too. New Zealand does not have attractive cities – it is only the natural backdrop which offset the harshness of the 1980s era concrete and glass box prefab which continues to this day. Thanks Rogernomics. Recent article in a UK paper to that point – natural scenery nice but Auckland a bit crap.

    2. Fully agree. And Steve, can you link me that article from the U.K. on Auckland? It’s useful to show people that our poor urban amenity (at the micro level) is noticed by people from overseas. Some people just don’t believe it unless its been said by someone overseas …

  6. Born in Auckland and unfortunately lived part of my life here, lived all over the world and sad to say Auckland city has the worst designed buildings in the world. Damn ugly at street level, From a wide angle taking in the harbour and islands it looks beautiful, but don’t be sucked in. One hell of an ugly city and love each time I leave and hate each time I come back home.

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