Public stink over pink

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Queenstown’s urban design panel is seeing red over Ngai Tahu Property’s pink downtown building – claiming it doesn’t meet town character guidelines.

“There’s been something of a public outcry on completion [over] the pink colour of the [Ballarat and Camp Streets] corner building,” the panel says. 

The property company is also accused of switching colours. 

“This [pink] was however at variance to the colour depicted to the [design] panel and on the consented resource consent. 

“The relatively stark modular treatment of the corner building’s facade together with overstated stainless steel rainwater heads and the absence of a distinct capping element have also been criticised.” 

The strong words come in a report by Queenstown Lakes District Council urban designer Nick Karlovsky on the panel’s activities. 

Panellists felt the pink is at odds with “Queenstown town centre character guidelines”, he says, conceding the guidelines may also be to blame. 

NTP development boss Gordon Craig is “extremely disappointed” the criticisms were aired without being discussed with his firm. 

“The suggestion of a public outcry bemuses me because all I’ve ever seen is one daily newspaper article.”
That September 2009 article quotes Lakes Environmental’s planning manager saying the actual colour is “close enough” to the consented colour. 

Craig concedes the consent was varied but “it provided a far superior result … acknowledged by the urban design panel”. 

Nevertheless, the criticisms show the design panel is baring its fangs after being established by QLDC in 2004 to monitor designs on big developments. 

The panel has 19 members, among them eight architects and five landscape architects. 

Four or five panellists chew over each individual design, being paid $150 per meeting by QLDC. It’s not known who sat in judgement on Ngai Tahu’s building. 

So far the panel’s overseen 108 projects. Karlovsky reports a win on the Mountaineer building. 

“The panel deemed the initial proposal submitted as being out of scale with its urban context and the historic Mountaineer heritage facade.” 

Developers then did “a major reworking”, finding favour with the panel. 

“The completed building is now fully occupied and has been well received,” he notes. 

Karlovsky adds “projects haven’t been pursued after they received a poor response from the panel”, citing proposed 26-metre high apartments in Brecon St and three 21m-high towers below Frankton Road.