Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Library height challenged

Local architects don't want $7.8 million building in the middle of waterfront reserve.

Tony Koia demonstrates the height of the proposed library building. Photo / Chris Gorman
Tony Koia demonstrates the height of the proposed library building. Photo / Chris Gorman

Auckland Council is misrepresenting the height of the proposed $7.8 million Devonport library building, says Tony Koia, one of a group of six resident architects challenging its location and the Athfield Architects design.

Mr Koia said he asked for survey poles to be erected at the present library to communicate the height of the proposed building to the public.

"They were apparently erected, judged to look too high and then lowered," he said.

Placement in the middle of the building did not define the upper roof of the proposed building.

To his professional eye, the upper roof would be up to 3m above, making a maximum height of 8.4m.

"This deceives the public into thinking the proposed building is much lower than it actually is.

"It is not normal practice to put up survey poles to not define the outer perimeter of the building.

"Placing the poles to define the middle of the building is cynical and also not normal practice."

Mr Koia took along his own survey pole to a "stakeholders meeting" and held it up to show people what was, in his opinion, the true height.

He said the library would be the town's most important building for the next 50 years but the group had tried in vain to get the council to scrap the plan for using the waterfront Windsor Reserve and instead cluster it with community facilities off the main street.

Council manager for the project Richard Cole said eight poles went up on May 29 to show the height of "meaningful parts" of the new building.

Unfortunately, there was a contractor error, he said.

The poles had been measured from an incorrect anchor point and therefore were not an accurate representation of the new height.

The error was fixed on June 1.

"This was a simple error that we picked up on inspection of the work and arranged to be fixed as soon as possible."

The council will not readjust the poles, saying they now reflect the approved notice of requirement which caps the building at 400mm higher than the existing one.

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chairman Chris Darby said the design was at the final development stage.

Putting up the poles was a way to help people to visualise the height and scale of the building but they should view them with the library scale model which is set in the large trees of the Windsor Reserve, Victoria Rd shop frontages and Flagstaff Tce houses.

- NZ Herald

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