Brownlee Baiting……

An interesting article in the Press this morning, referring to an article by Barnaby Bennett.  (“Barnaby Bennett is a well-respected, Christchurch-based architectural designer, PhD student and writer, and the co-founder of Freerange Press, a small cooperative publishing company focusing on issues relating to post-quake Christchurch, design, politics and art”. http://architecturenow.co.nz/articles/changes-afoot/

I particularly enjoyed Bennett’s comments about heritage and the existing buildings, these were reported in the original article shared on social media. opinion piece

“Exhibit 5: He was wrong about heritage and existing buildings. Dr Jessica Halliday explains this best in her essay Losing our collective memory (Once in a Lifetime p210). Soon after the quakes Brownlee took a helicopter over the city to survey the damage and returned to land with a clear mission to clear the city of old buildings. His attitude to existing buildings — heritage or otherwise – is one of the three great mistakes the government has made in this rebuild (the others being lack of respectful consultation and inadequate response to housing crisis). Only three of the eighteen government anchor projects include existing buildings on site. The rest require a scorched earth approach to development. A kind of ‘we have to destroy the city to save the city logic’. This is a disaster for the preserving the cultural memory of the city, and if we look around the city now it is only the temporary projects and the repaired older buildings holding the place together. C1, Isaac Theatre, New Regent Street, Re:start Mall, The Commons, Brick Farm, Arts Centre, amongst others. He apparently wanted to demolish more and at one point suggested in a meeting that the Christchurch Art Gallery should be demolished. They demolished buildings such as the Majestic centre while misleading the public, ignoring their own professional advice and while refusing to release engineering reports to the public. This isn’t how you rebuild a city. It ignores all the international evidence, and excludes the role of the public. After leaving his position former CEO of CERA Roger Sutton now seems to be implicitly publicly acknowledging the fallacy of the approach they took.”

Humm can not argue with any of his comments! Press article here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/69972067/christchurch-councillors-weigh-in-on-antibrownlee-blog

Interesting that the Press did not actually publish the original article. The Press states that: “Just days after Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel backed the Government’s new plan for Christchurch’s rebuild to be overseen by Brownlee, crs Ali Jones and Raf Manji on Saturday shared on Facebook an ( Original link here for the article) opinion piece written by architectural designer and PhD student Barnaby Bennett”.

Talk about a storm in a teacup. It was a hard-hitting article by Barnaby Bennett, saying aloud what many of us think and have not articulated.  There seems to be a total unwillingness to engage in discussion by the “powers that be”.  Any one who dares to offer an alternative opinion is hung out to dry.  Crazy days!

The sun is shining, my house is being demolished for the second time, Christchurch is starting to show that it has teeth.  It’s a good day!

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