Architecture, Supreme Court

New Supreme Court not world’s ugliest

New Zealand Supreme Court

Scottish Parliament

Good news. Our new brass-clad Supreme Court building, being opened today by Prince William, is not the ugliest public building in the world.

That honour must surely go to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. 

But I do find the judgment that went into approving the design of our new court a good argument for retaining the Privy Council.

(Yes, this at a time when I’m trying to change the flag.)

In the tradition of Te Papa and the Beehive, Wellington’s architects have once again blown a glorious opportunity to give New Zealand a world class building.

Instead, they’ve produced yet another modernistic eyesore – a poor man’s Bird’s Nest Stadium.

And you and I have stumped up $80 million for a five-person building that looks more like a razor-wire-fenced prison than a courthouse.

It does make you wonder at the quality of decisions that will emanate from this building. Can the best New Zealand minds really think better than the best from a nation of 56 million?

But back to that other provincial architectural embarrassment, the Scottish Parliament. 

I remember walking past it at the end of the otherwise stately Royal Mile and shaking my head in disbelief at this right royal hotchpotch of a building.

Bamboo window covers – how Scottish is that? They’d look more at home on a Maori pa than a Parliament.

In fact, they make our jagged brass pohutukawa seem almost relevant.

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