Friday, November 05, 2010

Square Edge- repainting

Recently Jayne, a fellow blogger from Oz, suggested I might like to visit the blog of Timespanner (from Auckland- but we won't hold that against her!) Timespanner had a recent post up about repainting old buildings, and in particular drew attention to how the Victoria Picture Palace Theatre in Devonport had been repainted, from a 'lolly-pastel' to a plain boring white, that allows none of the interesting details on the historical facade to be easily viewed. I am never a minimalist at heart, and on this building it appears to have been carried to its bland extreme.

However, here in Palmerston North, we have had a building- Square Edge- where the repainting job seems to have gone to quite the other extreme.

The bright colour scheme was clearly chosen to be bright, and to stand out. I have no problem with that per se, but I am not convinced the colours chosen are in harmony with either this building, or with its context in the urban surroundings.
The 'gray' bits you see on this building are not paint: they are stone. And I am not convinced that the bright blue and red paint colours harmonise well with this gracious gray. Perhaps on the clocktower part of the building they suit it well, but at ground level, they seem to have done it a disservice.

But the biggest 'sin' of this repainting job seems to me that the local 'context' has not been considered. The bright red paint on Square Edge now appears to clash with the red brick of the adjacent All Saints Church.
And here is a slightly wider 'context'. Nothing fits, and the buildings all look incredibly 'separate'.

But still, all that said and done, I appreciate seeing colours that do indeed celebrate the facade details, rather than wash them out in white, as on the Devonport theatre building Timespanner has shown....


  1. The colours certainly weren't chosen to blend it with adjacent buildings, but I don't mind it too much. I can't imagine what colours could have been chosen to make a statement, but be sympathetic to other buildings. It is a very fine building, especially the clock and the surrounding stonework.

  2. It is a fine building. Previously it had a mural on the facade, painted by a local artist, some twenty years ago- so there was some public discussion about the mural being obliterated. But by then, the new colour scheme was a 'done deal'. The artist himself didn't seem to mind too much, and seemed to think it was time for something new...

  3. The red and the pale blue could be kept and muted with a softer tone as the major colour, rather than that blue *shudder*
    It 'fell off the back of a truck', didn't it?
    If they went a deep, dark midnight blue with the pale blue and the red replaced by that lovely teal-bluey-green on the door at St Paul's from your previous post it would blend in a bit better.