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  1. Traveller, 17. October 2020, 13:56

    Congratulations to the Mayor and his team for three months of work which has resulted in the strongest and most persuasive case for saving the mighty Athfield Library, and making it even better.

  2. Helene Ritchie, 17. October 2020, 14:08

    It’s great that the Athfield library will not be demolished.
    Now it’s over to the wisdom of the mayor and councillors to still make the decision and one in the best all round interest of the city-current and future generations.

  3. BrooklynBrooklyn, 17. October 2020, 15:53

    This is great news, I am so relieved!

  4. Ben Schrader, 17. October 2020, 16:43

    I also think this is a terrific outcome. It will be brilliant if the library is opened up to Harris St; the present walkway on that side resembles the entry to a car parking building. Better access to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct will also be a boon.

    Best of all, the above proposal shows how a heritage building can be adaptively reused rather than fully demolished, conserving embedded carbon. This shows a real commitment to WCC’s sustainability goals. Well done!

  5. D'Esterre, 17. October 2020, 17:34

    I’m very glad that Wellington city doesn’t have the Bodleian to preserve. I didn’t make a submission in the end, because I knew that something like this would happen. When all the work is done, will we be left with a building which in any way resembles the Athfield building we currently have?

  6. Benoit Pette, 17. October 2020, 18:47

    I love it when the Mayor of our great little city takes the time to explain in great detail a decision, how it came and what’s next. Overall it feels like it was a robust process. Ka pai Mayor Foster and city councillors. Can’t wait for the grand re-opening! [via twitter]

  7. Dr Jenny Condie, 17. October 2020, 19:25

    After grilling the team for over an hour I was persuaded by their analysis and estimates. Details will be available in the paper later this month. [via twitter]

  8. Hel, 17. October 2020, 21:59

    So 49% through consultation prefer a new build compared to 42% who prefer strengthening. What is the point of consulting when the decision seems to be pre-ordained. [Survey responses favoured strengthening the existing building by 52% compared to 45% for a new build, and other issues were also considered, including cost estimates which were revised towards the end of the consultation period.]

  9. Sean, 17. October 2020, 22:24

    Plenty of code words that indicate the plan is to gut the books, magazines and other borrowing materials, just like Johnsonville or the new ChCh “library”. We won’t be getting the library back, just the shell of the building, with the inside being used for other purposes.

  10. Dave, 18. October 2020, 12:06

    Neither option is affordable unless you are happy with double digit rates rises.

    Council need to severely cut costs across the board and ditch any nice to haves and focus on the must haves like the 3 waters.

  11. Conor, 18. October 2020, 13:38

    Andy – can I ask why you are writing this at election time?

  12. Toni, 18. October 2020, 17:15

    The Chrischurch library is a massive void with a staircase in the middle which might look spectacular but then all that is left for books (not very many) and childrens play areas, meeting rooms, crafts area etc is around the edges of the floors. Not impressed!

  13. TrevorH, 19. October 2020, 7:39

    @Dave: I totally agree with you. We need to concentrate the bulk of funding for the foreseeable future on the 3 waters, as this article in the DomPost today by Joel McManus makes clear. Without clean water and effective sanitation, there is no city.

  14. Hilary Phillips, 19. October 2020, 13:37

    I made a submission begging for the Central Library to remain a library, not a ‘modern’ empty space with hardly any books. However, I can see that my plea fell on deaf ears. It seems we must at all costs be ‘modern’, and books just aren’t ‘modern’ enough. That artist’s impression was obviously done by someone who doesn’t read very much, if at all, and in all the ‘discussion’ there seems to be no mention of the book collection, or indeed anything to do with what the library is primarily for. This is very ominous!

  15. Trish, 19. October 2020, 20:53

    Hilary Phillips. The same warnings were made about destroying the Dominion Museum, replacing all those bugs stuck on pins with a Disney entertainment centre on the waterfront. You can see how well that turned out!

  16. Andrew H, 20. October 2020, 14:28

    Let me get this right. The most popular pick by Submissions was Option D. The most popular pick from the Survey was Option D.
    “The other important point to make is that cost and risk of cost escalation was significant to submitters, particularly those favouring demolition and a new building. I was pleased to hear this so strongly.” So you pick a different option which also happens to be the most expensive one.

  17. Julienz, 21. October 2020, 3:49

    My suggestion was build on the current decentralised model. If they want a bigger population in the CBD, as the Draft Spatial Plan indicates they do, then more public spaces (indoor and outdoor given our weather) should be part of the plan. You can reserve material and get it delivered to any branch at no cost for now anyway and since lockdown I have found myself increasingly moving to digital material despite being scarily close to being an older person.

  18. Meany, 21. October 2020, 9:26

    Call me cynical but was this Option not the Council’s intention all along? After all it showed this sketch drawing on its consultation documents, (instead of showing the present Athfield-designed library), ultimately made a unanimous decision before consulting the public that this was their preferred option, and then went on to ask leading questions in its tickbox submission survey. Talk about prejudging bias! This option is a highly complex option fraught with risk which present ratepayers whose rates paid for the civic centre may never use. Is that a fair use of our rates?

  19. Sky, 21. October 2020, 10:57

    Keeping the past is only worthwhile if the architecture is city identity defining, purposeful. Public libraries are a modern concept (the first was 1833), developed with the objective of learning, in order to improve one’s life. Its core purpose was not to be a warehouse for books, or an atrium for staircases…even though many libraries do have them.
    But the book part as the mechanism for learning is is slowly losing currency:
    – Younger readers more and more read online,
    – young professionals read almost exclusively online,
    – older people still read books to a much higher degree, but will only be around 30-40 years more.
    So we’re talking about at the very least 1m/year for a decreasing audience for a decreasing aproach to learning. And that’s before the reality of a) all WCC projects go over budget, b) seem to be unable to last the distance without further cash injections.

    I’m all for the humour of palm trees, even if the building doesn’t have much else going for it architecturally (post-modernism is the most reviled of all the architectural movements of the past century and a half. Even after brutalism). Nor in any style was it designed well in the first place. If it were, we wouldn’t be discussing its site placement and opening the sides of the building or strengthening it — absolute key concepts of architecture which the building — whomever it was designed by — failed at delivering.

    Injecting 1+m/year to only repair its long standing failings in the current economic climate is a too steep a cost on Wellingtonians. Preserving the past for the sake of preserving the past is not the objective. Even if that’s all the raw material available. Developing a future that is is functionally capable of being useful long enough that it is considered old in the future, is worth it. What we should be getting for our rates is a city centre building that is designed to evolve to needs, starting with books, evolving to digital, with use for other approaches to learning — the key purpose of a library — by a complete range of users, young to old. So concerts & theatre at night to children arts & crafts centre by day, science studies by school students, robotics by university students, etc.

    So before we discuss demolishing/replacing, we should get our objectives right. Otherwise, the money is a waste both ways. Nice staircase though.