1. Agreed, is great to have a really unique building in Auckland, rather than a bland box.
    Would be interesting to know if the PT mode share for ASB staff has changed since it moved. Lovely walk there on a summers day, but truly dreadful on a day like today.

  2. I’m not sure if I like it or not. It feels a bit like Te Papa… where different architects appear to have designed one side of the building each without talking to the others. Like Te Papa, I think individual features are kind of cool, but I’m not sure there is a consistent theme or a coherence to the building.

    I’d be interested to hear what Patrick R thinks.

  3. Reasonably innovative, good provincial, commercial architecture and definitely an improvement on the usual fare we get here, but ‘awesome’, I think not. It’s no Sydney Opera House (designed 1957-66) which was a stunning exposition of the potentiality of both architecture and engineering. Sadly stuffed up by a right wing state government when they sacked the architect on trumped up grounds but still deeply impressive, both to look at and to inhabit.

  4. I helped pay for the ASB building. Despite the OCR not increasing in over 2 years they keep increasing my 6 month fixed term loans. So, indirectly I am paying for this building.

    I will dump ASB for Kiwibank or TSB upon my return to NZ at the end the current 6 month term.

    PS.. nice building!

    1. TSB are great (touch wood). Look at Cooperative Bank as well- they give some of your money back apparently 🙂

      Will be interesting to see if ASB start to offshore their staff like some of the other big banks have started – might be some free space in a few years time unfortunately.

      Good building but the funnel end will age no? Looks a bit 1970s already.

      1. Firstly, the type of staff normally outsourced – contact workers, back office jobs, etc – do not work at ASB North Wharf. And when I worked at ASB, parent company Commonwealth Bank of Australia was looking at using NZ staff as a way of increasing hours of service across their group, spanning three time zones. NZ labour was also cheaper than Australia, so the Aussies were likely to get outsourced first.

    2. Having worked with mortgage rates in the past (at a different bank) I can say there is a lot more to the rates you pay than the OCR which doesn’t have that much overall impact. Rates are set based on interest rate swaps

  5. Not able to say much (haven’t been in it) but I can say I prefer it here in Bilbao where design and infrastructure investment (especially in Transit, waterside, and public realm) over the last few years has been so good that it even has its own name: The Bilbao Effect.

    Here’s how: http://www.citymayors.com/mayors/bilbao-mayor-azkuna.html

    Oh and of course it has a recent public building which is the Sydney Opera House’s only rival for impact and transformation.

    Important to note that the Gug itself is not the only thing that changed in Bilbao and that they are still improving the waterfront and have Zaha Hadid designed master plan for the next big move. And, of course, high speed rail coming to complement the excellent urban Transit recently built. ‘Iconic’ architecture is hard to get to order:


    1. Bilbao have a brand new football stadium as well. Amazing to see what is happening in that city, especially considering the state Spain is currently in.

    2. The quirky bridges and the tram/metro are awesome. Pretty rapid changes for a small city. If only Auckland could get its act together….

      Doesn’t that region also now have one of the highest GDPs/best performing economies in Spain? Seems to have some massive corporations for a little place.

      1. When a footbridge in a small Spanish city gets its own Wikipedia page, you know it’s something special:
        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campo_Volantin_Footbridge . Great architect by the way, Santiago Calatrava – as an interesting sidenote, he designed the futuristic-looking buildings in València that probably are the most often featured building-as-backdrop in car advertisements ever.

    3. There is a case to be made that the Bilbao Guggenheim is not a great building — it’s a great icon and monument, but that in some respects, as a museum and public space, it is so much a design to be seen from the outside that it doesn’t always work well as a functioning space. See this review, for example: http://pps.org/great_public_spaces/one?public_place_id=827

      This is reminiscent of what many felt about the waterfront stadium proposal for Auckland.

      I’ve not been to the Bilbao, so can’t really comment on that perspective, but there’s a great deal to be said for the view that really great architecture should be about how a building works both in itself, and in relation to its surroundings, and not just about how it looks (don’t forget that Auckland Art Gallery got a pat on the back for this recently: architecture doesn’t have to be visible from space to be great!)

      However… all that said, this blog is about transport and urban design, not architectural design. In that context, the broader vision of what they are doing in Bilbao is probably more important than a single building no matter how astonishing that single building might be.

      In that respect, the most interesting issue re the ASB building is how things continue to develop around it – will we get a great urban space, or will we get one somewhat different looking building surrounded by a lot of carparks and lifeless windswept paved areas? At the moment, it seems like it could go either way down in Wynyard Quarter, but then it is still a work very much in progress, which is exciting to see.

  6. While the louvred box on the roof for catching the wind and the reflector for shining light down into the building most likely work very well, it doesn’t look particularly attractive and the reflector looks like a toilet seat.

  7. I think its great looking – although the roof is pretty ugly from a distance. It fits in to the area pretty well and is a fairly bold building for a local bank to have embraced.

  8. Sustainability stuff is ace. However, the “chain link fencing” covering the windows would appear to block the view out, not unlike on the external ads on buses. From where I live in Freemans Bay it looks like a big pizza hut or like some weird 80s signal station. And as a non NZ born kiwi? It looks, well, cheap.

    1. I disagree. Myself and my partner walked along the wharf recently, and were both stunned at how great it looks, especially close up.

      1. Fair enough. I hope more people like it than dislike it, and I’m just in the minority! But from a distance, I find it unfortunate.

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