Saturday, February 11, 2012

Special Features: Old Sydney Street Substation

The old Sydney Street substation, photographed by Rachel Connolly. Copyright NZ Historic Places Trust .
There may be some people out there who’ve read my column about the old Sydney Street substation in today’s Your Weekend magazine and were left wanting more.

Sometimes it’s impossible to do a subject justice in 500 words. (If you can do it justice in 500 words, it’s not worth writing about). In this instance, I really wanted to include some web addresses to help direct further enquiries, but alas.

I’m sure those sufficiently piqued could find everything via Google, but I’m going to give them (and Google) a helping hand by collecting the links together here.

The Building Itself

The Historic Places Trust’s register has a very thorough report, prepared by Adrian Humphris and Inka Gliesche, on the old Sydney Street substation on. It’s available online here ().

There was also an article on the old girl by Tommy Honey in Architecture NZ (Nov/Dec 2005). Not available online but I have a scan if your local library doesn't have the issue.

In my column, I mention the proposed Kate Sheppard Exchange development which could incorporate the substation. The development was in the news last year when people objected to the proposed size of the building. I emailed the developers, Redwood Group, seeking an update on the project but I didn’t receive a response before my deadline (and haven’t since, but can’t be bothered pestering them).

On Wellington’s Substations

The Architecture Electric, a photographic survey of Wellington’s substations, is available as a free e-book here.

I asked the architecture types I interviewed if they had favourite substations in town and received two responses.If, like me, you’ve developed a sudden interest in substations, you might want to check out some of these:

Tyson Schmidt (co-author of ‘The Architecture Electric)

1. Have a picnic and watch the planes at the concrete panel marvel that is the Moa Point Road substation (page 14 of our book)

2. Venture above Boyd Wilson Field to Victoria University's Te Puni Village to look at the wind sculpture atop the University Zone substation (page 109)

3. Be impressed by the massive steel doors on the Moore Street Zone substation behind ECC lighting (page 106)

4. Walk the tracks of Mt Victoria until you find the Hataitai Zone substation with its wall of mesh encasing the large transformers (page 105)

5. Enjoy the graffiti used to disguise substations such as 69 Miramar Road (p.73) and down Lukes Lane (p.72, great Keith Haring-inspired figures on that one)

6. Jog past the substation with clean classical stylings on the corner of one of Wellington's most expensive streets (The Crescent in Roseneath) (p.54)

Adam Alexander (architectural designer; wrote his thesis on Wellington's substations [available in hardcopy from Victoria University's libary])

1. St John St Substation (adjacent to Aro Valley Park)

2. Lower Tory St (between Courtenay Place and Cable St)

3. 10 Haining St (off upper Tory St)

4. Hankey St Substation (intersection of Taranaki, Hankey and Wallace St)

5.Salamanca Rd (Near top of cable car)

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