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Architecture Affects The Soul

East Frame
Planned inner-city living one block away from The Square – Christchurch

The long-overdue plan is out for more than 120 new homes set to be built in Christchurch’s East Frame. This is inner-city living one block away from Cathedral Square.

I am distressed and sorely disappointed. We may be about to create a future housing disaster in the centre of our city.

Expressed most strongly: Fletcher won the contract for all the houses on the East Frame. Is Fletcher now in breach of the plans that it presented which won it the contract?

Yes – we need inexpensive housing in the centre of our city. But inexpensive does not need to be ugly. Soul-destroying. Add some pointy rooflines consonant with the neo-gothic and villa heritage of our city reinterpreted for our 21st Century context. We don’t have to sacrifice the post-modern doctrine our architects seem committed to that we cannot add facades – but surely we can add decorative features? We can add some indentations and variations.

There are good examples of 21st Century reinterpretations of our city’s heritage which need not be extra expensive nor be any less earthquake resilient.

Here is the Miles Warren Building:

Miles Warren Building

Here is the planned Cranmer Gardens building:

Cranmber Gardens

I am happy with the planned library building, but know that there are people like James Carr who are playful with ideas about the library and even the stadium:

Library

Regulars here will know that I have had a growing appreciation that the external look of buildings affect our soul.

See further here and here. How will we be affected by buildings like the one at the top of this post? How will people who live in that be affected?

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4 Responses to Architecture Affects The Soul

  1. I think there is a similar problem in many places Bosco, so many buildings are simply- ugly. And some are not fit for purpose, like the whole ‘leaky condo crisis’, or downright dangerous, such as Grenfell Tower in England.

    We just had a massive flood hhere affecting 135 000 homes, some damaged beyond repair. Yet I can drive around places which were under 12 feet of water and the land is for sale for building on!

    I could say loads more, but I think my point is where are the architects? Where are the engineers? Do we really think so short-term now we don’t expect buildings to be around for decades let alone centuries? Are people incapable of designing projects to withstand natural disasters yet be aesthetically attractive?

    It definitely has an effect on people their surroundings, Houston is a miserable place right now, many miles of piles of rubble that was people’s home, their family, their memories.

    Our buildings are our sanctuary, and our expression of human endeavor and creativity. Especially today, when the world seems beset by so many troubles, I think we need the encouragement and comfort.

    • Thanks, Andy. You didn’t say where you moved from that you found Auckland improved. I think our house designs are often unfit for the climate (so south of Auckland, there are significant issues with cold, damp, poor insulation, etc.). There is the whole history of our leaky homes – which you may not be aware of as a newcomer. And I think our (current) standards of insulation, double glazing, energy efficiency etc., although improving, are still well below many other (say) OECD nations. Blessings.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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